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Though the dentist recommends that you get a regular dental checkup near Falls Church, VA, it often gets postponed from one month to the next. That’s a decision that can cost you, in time, pain and appearance. These visits give your dentist the chance to find problems early before they cause major damage.
Here is a closer look at what a regular dental checkup near Falls Church, VA, can do for you.
The short answer is that during the checkup, your dentist checks your teeth and the hygienist cleans them. But there is a lot more involved.
The Checkup. During your dental checkup near Falls Church, VA, the dentist looks at your teeth and gums. He is looking for signs of cavities and to check for plaque and tartar on your teeth.
Plaque is a sticky, clear substance that adheres to the surface of your teeth. It is made up of bacteria, the source of decay and also inflammation in your gums. It needs to be scraped off before hit hardens, at which point it is called tartar. Tartar can’t be eliminated by flossing and regular brushing. It requires the efforts of the hygienist to get rid of it thoroughly.
The dentist will also check your gums, using a dental measuring tool. This calculates the amount of space between your gums and your teeth. If your teeth are in good shape, the amount of space is quite shallow. However, if you have gum disease, the space is deeper.
The dentist also looks at your tongue, throat, neck, head and face. Though this seems odd, since his job is your teeth, it makes sense. The dentist is often the first health professional to catch early signs of cancer and other trouble. He is looking for swelling and other abnormalities.
Every two or three visits, the dentist will probably have you get X-rays done. This gives him a more thorough look at your entire mouth. The information he gets from these images helps him spot problems quickly and before they become major.
The Cleaning. When the hygienist cleans your teeth, she uses specially made tools that are much more thorough than anything you can do at home. What she is doing is called scaling. She removes the tartar buildup so your teeth are smooth and the damaging buildup is no longer present.
She usually then polishes your teeth, using a paste that helps get rid of stains. At the very end, she flosses your teeth to make sure that all the surfaces are clean.
Most dentists recommend coming in every six months for a checkup. This standard was established in the 1950s by the American Dental Association. Prior to World War II, there were no set rules for when to visit your dentist.
But during the war, the military dentists noted that most recruits had teeth in very poor condition. They realized that it was important to prevent dental problems, rather than just treat them. Prevention is easier on the patient, less expensive, takes less time and is less painful. That’s why they developed a “best guess” recommendation of twice a year for a dental checkup near Falls Church, VA.
This rule of thumb works well for most people, but it should be customized to the needs of each patient. It depends on your oral hygiene habits and medical health. As a rule, certain high-risk patients should see the dentist every three or four months. These include:
During your lifetime, your needs change. For example, if you are going through an illness or experiencing high stress in your life, you should go to the dentist more often. These visits can help you fight off infections before they cause major problems in your mouth and elsewhere in your body.
If you seldom get cavities and don’t show signs of tartar buildup, your dentist might recommend that you come in once a year. But that is the outer limit for regular visits. Everyone, even those with perfect teeth, should go at least once a year.
During a regular dental checkup near Falls Church, VA, the dentist can catch problems early. That is the biggest benefit of coming in twice a year. Those problems can cause major frustration, pain, expense and health consequences. Why not remove the problem before it starts? That’s what a dental checkup near Falls Church, VA, on a standard schedule does for you.
Here is a look at specific ways these visits benefit you and your health.
Reduce pain. If a problem is left unattended, you can get a toothache. That hurts! It also makes it difficult to eat normal food. The pain can become so intense that you end up unable to concentrate at school, work and doing your daily chores.
If you wait too long and the pain continues, the cavity will only get larger. If you wait too long, you could end up needing a root canal. But if you get a regular dental checkup near Falls Church, VA, you avoid this entire problem. Now that makes sense!
Even if you aren’t feeling pain, that doesn’t mean that a cavity isn’t forming. The dentist can check X-rays and use his special tools to locate problems long before you are aware of them.
Keep your smile attractive. When cavities are caught early, your teeth keep their natural look. Though modern cosmetic methods include tooth-colored fillings, it is always better to avoid the cavity in the first place. Regular cleanings get rid of tartar and bacteria that lead to cavities and gum disease. This protects the appearance of your teeth and gums, giving you the best smile possible.
The cleaning also gets rid of stains on the surface of your teeth. This alone is reason enough for many people to come in for a regular dental checkup near Falls Church, VA. If you want your smile to look attractive, a visit to the dentist twice a year is the first thing you want to do.
Reduce costs. With most dental insurance, you will have out-of-pockets expenses if you have a great deal of work done during the year. If you can limit the amount of dental work required, you can save money. If you come in regularly and brush and floss every day, you can conceivably reduce your personal dental expenses to $0. That’s because most insurance picks up the cost of standard checkups.
Reduce time for dental visits. If you don’t get cavities or gum disease, you don’t have to keep going to the dentist for more work. That saves you time and effort. A quick dental checkup near Falls Church, VA, twice a year can save you hours of time with extended visits for fillings and gum work.
Save your health. The dentist does an extended checkup around your face, head, and throat that can detect signs of other health problems. The dentist can even spot signs of diabetes, eating disorders, dry mouth, nighttime reflux, osteoporosis, and even heart problems.
The dentists, hygienists, assistants and staff here at Annandale Smiles have been serving the local community for many years. In that time, we have earned a reputation for excellent dental work and a truly caring approach to your dental health. We want you to keep your teeth in great working shape for a lifetime.
We make it as easy as possible to make an appointment for your dental checkup near Falls Church, VA. Check out our website for the Request Appointment tab. Fill out the quick form, which also has room for a message, and click Submit. We will try to meet your preferred time and will let you know when we have an available slot that works for you. Though we can’t do confirmations or cancellations via the form, we can get all the pertinent data from you. You can confirm or cancel by calling our office.
The staff here at Annandale Smiles knows how to help you get the most out of your dental insurance. They can call your provider to verify benefits and will bill your insurance company for you. If you need to make special arrangements for payment, they have several options available. Just ask!
Annandale Smiles handles a wide range of dental services for all members of the family, including:
For a dental checkup near Falls Church, VA, call the experts at Annandale Smiles today.