Most dental professionals recommend seeing the dentist every six months for a dental exam and professional teeth cleaning. Skipping trips to the dentist can have negative consequences for your oral hygiene as well as the appearance of your teeth.
It’s important to know what happens to your teeth if you skip trips to the dentist. Knowing why seeing the dentist is important can motivate you to keep your dental appointments.
Tooth Decay and Stains
One of the things the hygienist does when you visit for a dental exam is remove plaque buildup. Plaque is a sticky buildup that adheres to the teeth and causes problems like tooth decay and gum recession. Plaque can lead to tough stains that are hard to remove from tooth enamel. Uncontrolled plaque buildup could lead to tooth loss too.
Higher Risk of Gum (Periodontal) Disease
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, occurs when bacteria builds up in the mouth and infects the gums. When you go to the dentist, your dental professional will clean your teeth and reduce the bacteria to healthy levels. Skipping the trip to the dentist can increase the risk of periodontal disease because the bacteria in your mouth continues to grow between visits.
Know the signs of periodontal disease. If you start to notice any of these symptoms, see the dentist right away.
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away when you brush your teeth
- Red, puffy inflamed gums
- Gum recession
- Loose teeth
- Gums that bleed after brushing
- Gum tenderness
- A change in the way your gums fit together
Increased Risk of Serious Health Issues
Every time you see the dentist, you get checked for problems like tooth infections. Infections in the soft, pulpy part of the tooth can spread to other parts of the body, like the heart. Failure to see the dentist puts you at increased risk for problems like heart disease, because any infections you have may go undetected for a long time.
In addition, your dentist is equipped to notice problems like oral cancer. If you aren’t visiting the dentist, oral cancer could go undetected for a long time. Survival rates for oral cancer can be good, but catching the problem before it has advanced is very important.
Increased Risk of Tooth Extraction
Just as infection in the tooth can put you at increased risk for heart disease, it can also put you at an increased risk of getting a tooth extraction. If your tooth becomes infected and the problem isn’t caught by a dentist, then you may not find out about the infection when the tooth is too far gone to be saved.
This could lead to a tooth extraction, which would leave a large gaping hole in your row of teeth. You can always fill the gap with a prosthetic tooth like an implant, but it’s better to try to save your tooth than to replace it.
Is It Time To See the Dentist? Call Today.
See the dental professionals at Weninger Dentistry every six months. If it’s been longer than 6 months since you had a dental checkup, make your appointment ASAP.