It’s that time of year again! The decadence of the holiday parties is over and you’ve bought your new calendar for the upcoming year – now it’s time to think about your New Year’s resolution. In 2018, instead of the usual focus on getting in shape, why not think outside the box and resolve to get your teeth and gums in shape? Keep reading as a dentist tells you how to make your pearly whites shine, and even avoid time and money spent in the dental chair. Who wouldn’t be excited about that?
How Can Regular Dental Checkups Help You?
It’s one of those paradoxes in life: The more you go to the dentist, the less you have to go to the dentist. That may sound confusing at first, but it’s a simple case of the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
By scheduling regular checkups every six months, your dentist can catch things when they’re small, including cavities, infections and even serious conditions such as oral cancer.
For example, say you have a bridge that’s been there for 10 years. If you develop a small cavity underneath the crown on one of the abutment teeth, sometimes a dentist can fix that with a small filling. The catch is that it has to be very small. If the decay has grown too large, the entire bridge must be removed and re-done, at significant cost and discomfort.
The same goes for a cavity on a regular tooth. If it’s found early enough, that tooth can be restored with a simple, relatively inexpensive filling, rather than a crown.
In cases like these, annual x-rays and a thorough clinical exam every six months are all that’s needed to prevent the need for more extensive dental work.
What Else Can You Do To Minimize Dental Work?
In addition to having regular exams and cleanings every six months, there are other important things you can do in the New Year to help improve and maintain your oral health. These are especially important if any of the following applies to you:
- If you have periodontal disease, or gum disease, you may need to come in every 3-4 months for professional cleanings. Also, excellent homecare becomes particularly important.
- Dry mouth can put you at a much higher risk for decay and other problems. Your dentist can prescribe special toothpastes and other products at your checkup appointments that can reduce your risk.
- If poor brushing and flossing habits are an issue, it’s crucial that you have regular oral hygiene instruction and gentle encouragement.
Your dentist and dental hygienist can help you determine the best course of action for all of these situations. By committing to your oral health in 2018, you can have a healthy smile for years to come!
About the Author
Dr. Larry Young is proud to be one of three generations of dentists in his family that have served the Jacksonville area for many years. From serving as faculty at the University of Florida Dental School to taking on leadership roles in multiple dental organizations, Dr. Young has set himself apart. He firmly believes in the value of prevention and is committed to helping his patients minimize the dental work they need. He can be reached for questions via his website, or at (904) 731-9833.