Regular dental checkups are a critical part of your overall oral health, and while most of us understand that, we’ve found that, for many people, it’s just too easy to let these appointments slide.
This is our chance to really make sure that your teeth are in good shape, your gums are healthy, and there aren’t any other serious concerns popping up. Generally speaking, your appointments will include two parts: the exam and the cleaning. Both are necessary to better oral hygiene, which is why we want to help you make these checkups a part of your normal routine.
So let’s take a look at what you can expect, and then we’ll go over some simple ways to make sure you don’t miss your annual visit.
How Often Should You See the Dentist?
You’ve probably heard the answer to this a lot. At least twice a year is the standard prescription, but that’s just a good rule of thumb. You may need to get a little more attention than that.
What Do We Cover in The Checkup?
Obviously, we’re going to take this time to look for cavities, but that’s just the start. This checkup will also cover:
Checking the gums for periodontitis, gingivitis, and oral cancer
Your bite and the movement of your jaw
Any pain from TMJ
Loose or shifting teeth
Fillings that need to be replaced
Any appliances you may have that need fixing
This is also when we will take detailed x-rays to look deep into your teeth and make sure we know exactly what’s going on in there.
Once we’ve gone through the exam, we’ll then move onto the cleaning, where we will remove any tartar, then floss, polish, and apply fluoride as necessary.
This will also be the time when we might ask you some serious questions about your eating and drinking habits as well as how much you brush and floss at home. We’re not trying to act like the Dental Inquisition (No one expects the Dental Inquisition!!), but the more we know, the more we can help you get the most out of your hygiene routines at home. And that means that those two appointments in a year are usually going to be enough.
Making It Routine
So this all sounds great, right? Sounds necessary. We all understand the importance professional exams and cleaning, but how do you make sure you never miss another appointment? How do you make it part of your routine?
You’d be surprised (or maybe you wouldn’t) at the number of people who say that it “just slipped their mind” or that it “didn’t seem that long ago that they just had a checkup,” and then before they know it a year has gone by. Maybe two.
We’re going to do everything we can to help you remember your checkups, and if you’d like us to, we can set up some simple reminders. But there are plenty of things you can do on your own.
First: your phone is your friend. So many of us already use our phones to track our appointments and provide important reminders. You can use your calendar to a) remind yourself to set the appointment and b) remind yourself to go to the appointment. You can set that first reminder the minute you finish your current appointment.
Second: keep our contact information where you’ll see it. Whether it’s magnetized to your fridge, stuck on a pin board, or taped to the inside of your medicine cabinet, sometimes just seeing that information is enough to remind you that it could be time for another appointment.
And finally: try associating your checkups with seasonal changes. Notice that it’s finally spring? Great, freshen up with a dental checkup. Summer is heating up? Better head into the office where it’s cool. Winter getting cold? Must be time to check your teeth. As you get into the habit of getting your checkup in certain seasons, it will make it easier to remember to get it done every time it rolls around each year.
Make regular checkups a part of your normal routine, and together we can help you keep teeth and gums strong and healthy.