Dental checkups are about more than simply maintaining a beautiful smile, and they also serve a larger purpose in preventive health care. When a dentist performs a dental checkup, they are checking for signs of potential health complications — not just oral health complications but general health as well.
The importance of dental checkups in preventive health care
By understanding what dental checkups involve and what is being checked, you can fully understand the importance of scheduling and making it to your routine dental care appointments. The following are four reasons why dental checkups are important in preventive health care.
1. Ensure good oral hygiene
The first thing the dentist checks for during a dental checkup is the status of the patient’s overall oral health. The typical oral examination involves checking the teeth for enamel erosion and signs of teeth grinding, as well as checking the gums for signs of periodontal disease.
In the event the dentist is able to spot any signs of damage or early signs of periodontal disease, they can then work with the patient to ensure the issue is properly treated and good oral hygiene is maintained moving forward.
2. Screening for health problems
While many assume dental checkups only involve checking the mouth to see if the patient has been keeping up with their daily oral care routine, dentists actually check for much more than oral hygiene. In fact, there are many general health issues that can be discovered through a dental checkup, such as diabetes, vitamin insufficiency and osteoporosis.
The earlier any health problems are discovered, the easier they are to prevent and treat, which is why dental checkups are important in preventive healthcare.
3. Screening for oral cancer
A dentist can also use visual scans and a variety of other tools available to them to determine whether or not the patient has any of the early signs of oral cancer. Oral cancer is a very serious concern that requires extensive treatment in order to overcome. The earlier signs of oral cancer are noticed, the easier, and perhaps less invasive, the treatment will be.
In addition to overall oral hygiene and a variety of general health conditions, a dentist also ensures the patient has not developed and is not at any noticeable risk of developing any form of mouth cancer, which allows the patient to live without the fear of oral cancer and take prompt action if any signs of the disease do exist.
4. Save money and time
Another reason dental checkups are important in preventive health care is that they can save patients time and money from extensive treatments down the road. If gum disease and other common oral health issues are left untreated, they can worsen and lead to the need for expensive treatment, such as dental fillings, root canal therapy and tooth replacement.
By being able to catch both oral and more general health issues early, the treatment is often much less expensive and time-consuming than what would have been the case if the early signs were not noticed.
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