Visiting the dentist, like visiting your family doctor, is something that should be done regularly. Visits are intermittent, however, it can sometimes be easy to forget to make an appointment and you may not be sure how often you should do so.
Because the question “how often should I visit the dentist?” is so frequently heard, let’s answer it here and discuss why it’s important, what to expect during a visit, and more.
How Often Should I Visit the Dentist?
You have likely heard it said that dental appointments should be every six months. This is a good rule of thumb, but of course, it doesn’t apply equally to everyone. While some studies have shown that certain individuals may go an entire year between visits without experiencing any significant dental issues, others need to go more regularly, even as often as every 3 or 4 months.
How often you need to visit the dentist will depend on your own unique situation, your eating and dental habits, as well as your overall oral health. While the 6-month guideline will likely suffice, you may discuss it with your dentist to have more insight.
Why is it Important to Visit the Dentist?
Some people think that the best time to see their dentist is when they are suffering from a toothache, or when they have some other issue that needs attending to, but seeing your dentist regularly helps prevent these issues from even occurring and offers other benefits as well.
The most obvious benefit is, of course, taking proper care of your teeth. If you have a decayed or rotten tooth, they may need to remove it, which may lead to additional problems such as your teeth moving, discomfort, or permanent changes in your smile. Seeing your dentist regularly offers the opportunity to save your teeth before irreversible harm occurs.
Preventing Future Issues
Even though the dentist may be able to save your decayed teeth, it’s better to prevent such problems from ever arising. Your dentist can help you in the battle against tooth decay and they can help prevent future issues, saving you pain and discomfort down the road. During your visit, the dentist may notice a small cavity forming, indications of gum disease, or even signs of oral cancer. By spotting the problems early, you have a greater chance of successfully treating them.
Your oral health can impact systems throughout the body. For example, bacteria from your mouth can enter your bloodstream and cause infection or inflammation in other parts of the body. The heart, liver, and kidneys are particularly susceptible to bacteria from the mouth. If you want to help maintain your overall health, don’t ignore your mouth.
Chronic bad breath can result from poor oral hygiene habits and it’s not something to treat on your own, as it could be an indicator of a medical condition that needs attention. Your dentist can pinpoint the cause of the problem so that it can be handled effectively.
What to Expect on a Visit
When you visit your dentist for a regular checkup, you will greet the receptionist to inform them that you have arrived. If you are early, you will be asked to have a seat and wait until someone comes to get you for your appointment.
When the actual appointment begins, you will start with the dental hygienist. They will take your medical history if this is your first visit or ask about any recent changes or concerns if you have met with them previously. This helps them to provide the appropriate care and meet any special needs that you might have. This will be followed by a thorough tooth cleaning, with the hygienist removing any built-up plaque and tartar above and below the gum line. They will also floss your teeth to remove any lingering plaque or food particles and finish up with a polishing that leaves your teeth feeling clean and slick.
Your teeth and mouth will be checked for any potential problems, with an eye out for swelling of the gums, redness, or sores. You may also have x-rays taken, but this will not occur every visit. Healthy adults typically have them taken every 2-3 years, but if you have implants, crowns, or bridges, they may be done every 12-18 months.
How Long Will it Take?
This will vary depending on what is being done and if you have any special concerns that you want to discuss with your dentist, but on average, you can expect a typical dental appointment to last about 45 minutes.
You and your dentist may be together for many years to come, so it’s important to find a good fit, with a dentist that can meet all your needs. Some of the things to look for when choosing a dentist include:
Your family doctor or local pharmacist may be able to recommend a dentist to you, as may a family member or trusted friend. Just be sure to get plenty of information. Are they recommending this person because they are thorough, professional, and equipped with the right technology, or because they are “nice?”
Location and Office Hours
While perhaps not the most important factor, having a dentist in a convenient location is certainly a consideration for many people. That said, you may be willing to travel farther, or to a less convenient office to get the best care.
Similarly, if the dentist keeps office hours that are convenient for you, that may be a consideration if you want to avoid taking time off from work or school.
Does the dentist offer full services? Some may offer multiple services from whitening to root canal and everything in between, while some may not. Do they have services in place for dental emergencies? No one wants to have to wait over the weekend with a broken tooth.
Friendly and Helpful Staff
You are going to be dealing with your dentist for what may be a long time. Your experience will be more enjoyable with someone attentive, helpful, and easy to communicate with.
At Aspen Dental, you will find a highly trained, professional staff that takes your oral health and general health seriously. We not only help make your smile the best it can be, but we also give you a reason to use it.
For many people, oral care is all about their teeth, which they want to keep clean and shiny white, or about their breath, which they worry isn’t fresh. Gums can, unfortunately, be an afterthought, but they play a vital role by acting as a barrier against bacteria that causes disease, while also supporting your teeth to keep them in place.
Gum recession refers to the gums pulling back from the surface of the tooth, exposing the roots. This is a common condition, but one that can be avoided with appropriate care. Unfortunately, many do not realize that their gums are receding until the condition has advanced to a later stage.
Symptoms of Gum Recession
Receding gums are most often seen in adults over the age of 40 and are more common in men than women, though it is worth knowing and watching for the signs to catch it early, regardless of age or gender. Receding gums and other forms of periodontal disease will be diagnosed by your dentist, but some of the indications that you may experience include:
Bleeding after brushing or flossing
Swollen red gums
Pain at the gum line
Visibly shrinking gums
Causes of Gum Recession
There are several factors that could lead to receding gums. Poor oral health is one possibility. If plaque is allowed to build on the gums and teeth, this can lead to the gums becoming inflamed. If this inflammation remains untreated, it can result in the deterioration of the gums and supporting bone structure. Other potential causes include:
Overly Aggressive Brushing
It might seem as though vigorous brushing is a good way to get your teeth their cleanest, but it can be harmful by wearing down the enamel of your teeth and causing damage to your gums.
If one or both of your parents suffer from gum recession, you may be at a higher risk.
If your teeth are not aligned properly, it can create friction that results in your gums receding.
Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth
Along with causing other issues, clenching, or grinding your teeth can exert a force that wears down your gums much like misaligned teeth.
Trauma to Gum Tissue
Gum recession can occur at the site of a gum injury or nearby.
Smoking and other forms of tobacco use increase the risk of receding gums by causing other issues such as inhibited saliva flow and weakening the immune system.
Women can be more susceptible to receding gums as they experience hormonal changes brought about by puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.
Gum Recession Treatment
In mild cases of gum recession, treatment is usually not required. Your dentist may offer tips on prevention and continue to monitor your gums. A proper brushing technique that is not too aggressive is an effective intervention.
If treatment is required, there are several options:
Desensitizing Agents and Dentin Bonding Agents
These are ways to reduce the sensitivity of exposed roots. They can make brushing sensitive teeth more comfortable.
Pink Porcelain or Composite
This is a material that matches the colour of the gums and is used to fill in the space where gums have receded.
Removable Gum Veneers
These are used to replace large areas of missing gum tissue and are usually made of acrylic or silicone.
Moving the teeth slowly over a lengthy period can correct the gum margin and make it easier to keep the teeth clean.
This requires grafting tissue from another site in the mouth which heals over the recessed area. This is an option for severely receded gums.
Gum tissue unfortunately does not grow back, making it important to ensure that your oral care routine takes gum care into consideration. Proper brushing and flossing can go a long way toward protecting your gums and keeping them healthy.
White teeth are often seen as indicative of youth and health, and many Canadians pursue whiter teeth through products to use at home such as whitening toothpaste, whitening strips and trays, brushes, mouthwashes, as well as visits to the dentist for professional whitening. Despite this, many will find themselves looking in the mirror and asking, “why are my teeth yellow?”
Even when brushing and flossing conscientiously and following a good oral care routine, you may find that you have yellow, stained teeth. What causes teeth to stain and what can you do to help prevent it?
Here are 10 causes of yellow teeth:
The colour of your teeth can be influenced by your genetics. If one of your parents had yellow teeth, there is a high probability that your teeth are yellow as well. Additionally, your teeth could take on different hues, including reddish yellow, reddish brown, and reddish grey. These are all natural shades and can run from light to dark. Thicker, whiter enamel is also present in some families.
Food and Drink
There are many foods and drinks that can cause stains on your teeth. Berries and tomatoes, for example, contain pigments that can stain your tooth enamel. Curry and other spices may also cause discolouration. Among drinks, coffee, tea, wine, and cola are known to cause stains to teeth. Even foods that are not coloured themselves may prove problematic, as is the case with some starchy foods like potatoes and pasta, which can lead to conditions that cause staining. Wonder what you should eat? These are foods that are good for your teeth.
Smoking can lead to yellow teeth or may lead to brownish stains. Chewing tobacco may also lead to stains on your teeth.
Poor Dental Hygiene
Proper brushing and flossing are an important part of your oral care routine. Not only is this important in warding off decay and resultant cavities and gum disease, but it is also a factor in maintaining whiter teeth. When you forget to brush and floss, it allows plaque and food to build up, leading to discoloured teeth. Missing regular visits to your dentist for professional cleaning can also lead to the development of stains.
When certain diseases prevent the proper development of tooth enamel and dentin (the part of the tooth under the enamel), tooth discolouration may occur. In other instances, medical treatment can cause teeth to discolour, such as when receiving head and neck radiation or chemotherapy. The enamel in a baby’s teeth can be affected by infections suffered by the pregnant mother.
Certain drugs are known to cause discolouration in the teeth of children. For example, when children under the age of 8 receive the antibiotics tetracycline and doxycycline, it may impact the formation of enamel in their teeth. Discolouration may also be caused by the use of mouthwashes and rinses that contain chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride.
Other medications that may cause discolouration include antihistamines, antihypertensive medications, and antipsychotic drugs.
Beneath your tooth’s enamel is dentin. This part of the tooth may range from grey to black but is most typically yellow. As we age, the enamel of our teeth gradually wears away, allowing the dentin to show through, resulting in a change of colour.
Fluoride is used in toothpaste and treatments at your dentist to protect teeth and help prevent the formation of cavities, but an excess of fluoride can result in the formation of spots on the teeth. Aside from toothpaste, the main sources of fluoride include fluoridated drinking water, prescribed fluoride tablets, and dental treatments.
Kids who engage in sports may suffer injuries to the mouth. If they are under the age of 8 years, this can have an effect on the formation of enamel. Trauma to the teeth can also cause discolouration among adults if the injury causes a decrease in the blood flow to the tooth or if the nerve dies. Damage to the tooth’s interior may indicate the presence of bleeding, requiring professional intervention.
Grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common issue, particularly among those who suffer from stress. Unconscious grinding of the teeth is more common during sleep, but may also happen during waking hours. It is harmful to the enamel of the teeth and may result in tooth enamel cracking and yellowing. If you believe this is a symptom you suffer from, read our article: Grinding Teeth at Night: Do I Really Need a Night Guard?
Yellow teeth are quite common and nothing to be embarrassed about. Proper oral care is important in maintaining a white smile. Brush and floss regularly and be sure to follow a schedule of regular dental visits. You can also schedule a laser teeth whitening in North Vancouver
To learn more about how to whiten teeth, contact your dental professional, who has several methods available to restore your bright, white smile.
Knowing when to see an orthodontist for the first time can be a bit confusing. Many believe that there is no reason to go before their child is a teenager, but in truth, it is recommended to go much earlier.
Many parents are excited to see their baby’s first teeth appear, even as they are sad to say farewell to their gummy smile. It can be a difficult time for both baby and their parents as the little one experiences obvious discomfort.
While teeth are durable and made to last a lifetime, accidents happen and you might end up with one that is either chipped or broken, resulting in pain and difficulty eating. A broken tooth will require a visit to the dentist as will all but the tiniest of cracks or chips.
Canker sores, also known as aphthous ulcers, are small open wounds that form in the mouth. They are often on the lip or cheek but may also form on the gums and they make eating, and sometimes even talking, painful. Roughly 1 in 5 people suffer from them regularly and they are more common in women.
A dental bridge is an excellent option when you have one or more missing teeth. As the name implies, a dental bridge fills in or “bridges” the gap between the teeth, but how do you know if dental bridges are right for you?
When it comes to your health, you wouldn’t choose just any old doctor. Likewise, your family’s dental care requires the same level of consideration. It has been shown that dental health has a considerable impact on our overall health. While some may be willing to simply grab an appointment with the first dentist they come across, it is important that you find the right pediatric dentist when it involves the needs of your entire family, especially if you are hoping to improve the dental health of your children.
When we see actors and models with their perfect white teeth, many of us wonder what we can do to improve our own smile. We’ll try whitening toothpastes, special toothbrushes, and home remedies to get pearly whites, but do any work?
If you are looking to brighten your smile, then here are the 11 best ways to whiten your teeth.