One of the best times to schedule a dental exam is at the beginning of the year to help you stay on track with dental health. Dr. Niles will get an up-close view of your teeth, gums and mouth to offer you the precise care you need. A dental exam can help you stay on the path to excellent oral health and wellness through established prevention techniques and patient education. Find out why you should make the goal to get at least 2 dental check-ups this year and how it can greatly impact your health!
The American Dental Association recommends that each person visit the dentist at least twice a year to keep their oral health in check and to prevent tooth decay. As the term describes it, “tooth decay” is the decay of your teeth. You may know this term by its other names of “cavities” and “dental caries”. The National Institutes of Health reports that cavities are the most prevalent chronic disease among children and adults. The worst part? Tooth decay is 100% preventable.
A cavity happens because of what you eat and how well you clean your teeth. When you eat or drink, sugars mix with bacteria in your mouth that forms an acidic, sticky substance called plaque. That plaque sticks to your teeth and eats away at your tooth enamel. When your enamel becomes weak, small cracks and fissures form that allow plaque to get inside the soft center of your tooth. This is where tooth decay happens very rapidly, which leads to infection and tooth loss. However, if you brush your teeth several times a day, plaque never gets the chance to erode your tooth enamel. The ADA recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day. You can brush after every meal to lower your risk for cavities even more.
When plaque sits on the teeth, it also irritates your gums. The gums will become red, swollen and irritated and will eventually start to recede. If your oral health habits are poor, your gums will recede so much that your teeth will fall out. We can help you correct the earlier stages of gum disease, but if the disease has progressed, it is hard to treat. Around 64.7 million adults in the U.S. have some form of gum disease. That’s about half of all the adults in the U.S, 8.5% of which have severe gum disease and tooth loss. This is preventable if you brush and floss your teeth every day!
Facts on Decay and Disease
Cavities affect a startling amount of people in the United States, and most people have had one at some point or another in their life. Gum disease also affects way too many people as well, even though both of these conditions are 100% preventable with only a few simple habits each day.
- 18.6% of children between 5-19 have untreated cavities.
- 31.6% of adults between 20-44 have untreated cavities.
- 84.7% of children between 2-17 had a dental exam in 2015.
- That number decreases to 64% of adults between 18-64, and 62.7% of seniors over 65.
- Only about 7 out of 10 Americans brush their teeth twice a day.
- 23% of American adults go 2 or more days without brushing their teeth.
- However, 37% of young adults go 2 or more days without brushing their teeth, which is even worse.
- 4 out of 10 Americans floss their teeth once a day.
- 20% of people in the U.S. don’t floss their teeth at all.
- Only 65% of Americans visit the dentist each year.
- Young adults (between 18-24) are less likely to visit the dentist than children or older adults are.
Combat Problems with a Dental Exam
We started off by mentioning the importance of a dental exam. As studies show, too few of people visit their dentists each year. It’s no wonder that so many millions have tooth decay and gum disease! When you come into our office for your dental exam, Dr. Niles will examine all the hard (teeth) and soft tissues of your mouth to look for decay or disease. She will record all of her findings and recommend treatment to you or your child if decay has happened.
During your dental exam, we use digital x-ray imaging to find cavities on the surface of your teeth and inside them. X-rays are a focused beam of x-ray particles passed through bone. These rays produce images of your teeth on a special film, which indicates areas of tooth decay. Once we find those cavities, we do cavity fillings or root canals to get rid of the decay. At the start of your dental exam, you will also have a very quick oral cancer screening. Dr. Niles will check you neck, head, face and mouth for irregular tissue changes or growths. She will check for sores or discolored tissue that indicates cancer. This 1-minute check of your mouth could save your life, as oral cancer kills about 50,000 people a year.
We generally have a dental cleaning the same day as your dental exam. These will be during the same appointment. A dental cleaning is a 30-minute professional cleaning you receive from a dentist or dental hygienist. Every patient should have a dental cleaning every 3-6 months as well as a dental exam. If you are due for your dental exam, call Niles Family Dentistry today at (303) 652-0400!