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Why You Shouldn't Skip Your Bi-Annual Dental Cleaning and Checkup

Perhaps you’ve procrastinated about having a bi-annual dental cleaning and checkup because you’re too busy. Or, maybe you’re anxious about going to the dentist because you’ve fallen behind on oral hygiene. No matter what your reasoning is, if you don’t maintain a regular schedule of bi-annual dental cleanings and checkups, you may lose more than you gain. 

Bi-annual dental cleanings and checkups are crucial to preventive dental care. They allow your dentist to identify and treat dental issues before they require complex and costly procedures. 

While it may seem a challenge to maintain a schedule of twice-yearly visits, doing so can ultimately save you time, money, and discomfort by preventing the need for complicated treatments. Regular dental visits may also reveal conditions in your mouth that could be related to changes in your overall health.

Though dental professionals encourage patients to visit twice annually, many people fall behind. As many as 100 million Americans don’t see their dentists even once a year. 

Establishing a relationship with a dentist you trust can make you feel more committed to scheduling routine visits. At Rifkin Dental, our dentists offer a full range of preventive dental services at our offices in Yorktown Heights and Carmel, New York. Our compassionate and professional approach to dental care helps you feel confident and comfortable whether your visit involves prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. 

Our dental team encourages patients to do all they can to maintain the health of their teeth and gums. Read on to find out why bi-annual cleanings and checkups are key to achieving this goal.

Identify signs of oral problems

A bi-annual dental cleaning and checkup includes several procedures designed to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

During your oral exam, your dentist looks for evidence of decay and disease since these conditions can exist without symptoms in their early stages. A small, handheld mirror is used to examine the surfaces of your teeth and gums. This device helps your dentist inspect the interior surfaces of your teeth and less visible areas of your mouth. 

Your dentist also evaluates your risk for periodontal disease using a dental tool called a periodontal probe. This special ruler measures the pocket depth of the space between each tooth and the gum line. Periodontal disease is typically indicated when pocket depths exceed 4 mm.  

Dental X-rays may also be used to assess your teeth and gums. These special X-rays can also help identify potential bone decay or deterioration of tooth roots. 

During your examination, your dentist makes recommendations for necessary treatments such as fillings. You can also discuss areas of concern and the value of potential cosmetic or corrective treatments such as orthodontics or customized mouth guards.

Professionally remove plaque

The professional cleaning included in your bi-annual visit removes stubborn plaque and tartar that may be hiding in hard-to-reach areas. Your dentist uses a handheld dental tool called a scraper to remove these stubborn substances by hand.

Your professional cleaning also involves the use of a high-powered electric toothbrush and mildly abrasive toothpaste. The combination delivers a deep, thorough dental cleaning that’s not possible to achieve at home. 

Professional flossing follows your cleaning and allows your dentist to examine your gums for signs of bleeding. Your dentist addresses proper brushing and flossing procedures if your results don’t reflect the time and effort you spend on daily oral care.

You may also receive a liquid fluoride treatment during your visit. This liquid varnish is brushed over your teeth to provide a shield of protection between bi-annual visits. 

Assess your overall health

Maintaining a schedule of bi-annual dental cleanings and checkups can help you maintain more than the health of your teeth and gums. These visits can be critical in identifying signs of diseases that develop without initial symptoms.

An important part of your bi-annual examination involves an oral cancer screening. During this painless assessment, your dentist examines your tongue, lips, cheek, palate, gums, throat, the bottom of your mouth, and your head and neck.

While this condition is typically symptom-free in its early stages, your dentist can detect early signs of oral cancer, such as sores or red or white patches, that you may not notice. Having this examination performed twice annually increases the possibility of identifying oral cancer in its early stages when treatment outcomes have high success rates.

Bi-annual dental cleanings and checkups can also identify signs of other diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, thyroid disease, and other cancers. Evidence indicates that more than 90% of all systemic diseases have oral symptoms such as bad breath, mouth ulcers, dry mouth, and swollen gums, which can be recognized during routine dental exams. 

Bi-annual dental cleanings and checkups help ensure you get the most from daily flossing and brushing. Make time to schedule an appointment by calling our Yorktown Heights or Carmel office today.

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