Q. Is visiting the dentist just about how clean your teeth are?
A. When it comes to your sixmonthly appointment, it can seem like an effort to visit your dentist – especially if your teeth don’t tend to cause you many problems throughout the rest of the year. But it’s important to remember that it is about much more.
You might have noticed that whenever you do go for your appointments, your dentist may take x-rays of your teeth. This is so they can see what the human eye can’t and help identify issues there may be below the gums. Sometimes, there may be an abscess, bone loss in your jaw or damage below the surface of your teeth.
Your gums are examined thoroughly for any irregularities as they are crucial towards ensuring your mouth and body are in the best shape. For example, if you notice bleeding on the gums when you brush, it may be the early stages of gum disease.
Furthermore, your dentist isn’t just looking out for signs of the usual dental health issues, like tooth decay or gum disease. They are trained to keep an eye out for, and recording, more serious signs related to your oral health, too. Early signs of oral cancer can include red or white patches in your mouth, bleeding without any cause or unexplained lumps on your cheeks, lips or gums.
Even having bad breath could indicate that something more serious is at play. An early diagnosis increases your chances of finding treatment options sooner rather than later.