2020 was an interesting year to say the least, and it’s safe to say we’re all glad it is now 2021. While we all put off many things in 2020 due to the pandemic, now is a great time to play a little catch up and start the new year off on the right foot. One thing many people may have put off is their scheduled checkup with their dentist. And trust us, we don’t want patients to feel any guilt for this. Finances are tight for many families, and it is still wise to stay home as much as possible until the pandemic is under control.
However we are continually working with the ADA (American Dental Association) and the CDA (Colorado Dental Association) to ensure both the safety of our patients and our staff. Learn more about our procedures in How We’re Keeping Our Office Safe. This said, if you’re putting off a checkup, we’d like to welcome you back in 2021. In this vein, let’s examine why dental checkups are important for your overall oral health and why scheduling one now could save you time and money in the long run.
There are two essential parts in a routine visit to your dentist. First, there is a visit with your oral hygienist to receive a thorough cleaning for your teeth and to discuss any lingering hygiene issues. Today a cleaning will feel a little different given our added COVID precautions including the use of different cleaning tools that emit fewer particles into the air. We may also take X-rays to check the health of your teeth not visible to the naked eye. Next, your hygienist will provide a thorough flossing that helps reach areas you may miss at home. Finally, your teeth are polished with a paste to remove surface stains and help them shine. Certain fluoride-rich compounds may also be applied to help your teeth remineralize. Don’t forget, a visit with your hygienist is a great opportunity to ask questions about how best to care for your teeth at home as well.
Once the cleaning portion is finished, you’ll receive a checkup with your dentist. In this session, they will inspect your teeth and gums to identify any intermediate or serious issues that will need to be addressed. If you require additional treatment, often another appointment will be scheduled. Don’t be shy! Feel free to ask your dentist any questions including concerns about payment for additional procedures.
One reason dental checkups are important has to do with plaque and its transition into a harder substance called tartar. Your daily brushing and flossing removes much of the plaque, or bacteria, growing on your teeth. But even if you’re great at keeping up with oral care habits, chances are a little plaque will be missed between teeth and in hard to reach places. Over time plaque will turn to tartar, which is something you can’t remove with your toothbrush. Left untreated, tartar can cause serious problems like gum recession and gum disease. A regular cleaning by your dental hygienist can remove tartar and prevent serious infections that can even lead to tooth loss.
Monetary concerns are always important in dental treatment, but it’s worth noting that the alternative of missing regular checkups can cost far more than a cleaning and checkup. As smaller dental issues go untreated, they become worse and require more expensive treatment to fix. For example, a small cavity can be corrected with prescription toothpaste, but left untreated for a period of time, it will require a filling. Needless to say, the prescription toothpaste is something that will save you both money and time while keeping your smile healthy. This is the case with all dental issues. They are better caught early, and you’ll save money and spend less time in the chair to correct them!
If you still haven’t been in for a checkup since the pandemic, there has never been a better time to get scheduled. Our staff is standing by to schedule you for a socially distanced appointment. You may not be able to see our smiling faces under the PPE, but trust us we’re still happy to see you. Get off to a great start in 2021 by contacting us today.