Dr Shodjaee Newsletter
Dental Checkups June 2006
in this issue


Why Six-Month Checkup ?

Why Dental Checkups ?

What Happens at checkup ?



Why Six-Month Checkup ?

Some patients may not require a visit to their dentist for a year at a time; others may need to make dentist appointments every two months. But as a general rule, regular dental checkups every six months are the best way to make sure your gums and teeth stay healthy.Your six-month checkup allows your dentist to diagnose any problems, and to take preventive action to stop problems before they develop, in addition to reinforce useful preventative advice.

A little knowledge goes a long way in prevention of sports-related dental injuries: Each week millions of Canadians head out to the diamonds, fields, rinks and courts of our country to partake in their favourite recreational and organized sports. The question is, do they take along the common sense that'll help keep their face and mouth safe from injury? Even purely recreational athletes should understand the differences in types of mouth protection available and what to do if an accident happens.

Oral cancer prevention and detection: It's not a fun subject, but patients should realize the dangers of smoking and smokeless tobacco on oral health. Patients should learn to recognize the early warning signs of gum disease and oral cancer. In Canada, tobacco use is responsible for an estimated 30% of cancer deaths.

  Dear Farid,

Indeed, next to brushing and flossing, regular dental checkups are the most important thing anyone can do for their dental health. How often you should see your dentist depends. It depends on a range of things, including whether you have a fairly healthy mouth, or whether you suffer from gum disease. It depends on the rate of tooth decay, the extent and size of existing fillings and the relative health of supporting gum tissue. It is even influenced by the existence of prescription medications in a person's life, and your ability to provide effective home care. The bottom line is that, when it comes to regularity of dental visits, everyone is unique.

  • Why Dental Checkups ?
  •   Research indicates that at least 80% of the adult population has some form of periodontal disease. Most of us don't even know that we have such a condition, which is largely caused by the presence of plaque. Without its periodic removal, the sad truth is that every adult will develop gingivitis which may progress in some to periodontitis and loss of tooth attachment to the gum s. And it's nearly impossible to predict which patients are more susceptible to this deterioration than others. As such, it's important to include preventive dental coverage in the list of benefits you choose at the workplace. What's involved in a dental check up varies according to a range of factors, including the predetermined recall frequency. For example, individuals who have a high incidence of, or predisposition to cavities, but who visit their dentist infrequently, will require different treatment, perhaps even major restoration, when they do attend the dentist than will the individuals who drop in more frequently.
  • What Happens at checkup ?
    • screening, where the dentist looks for anything unusual such as early signs of gum disease, eroded fillings, infections and oral cancer;
    • minor treatment, where the dentist fixes small problems on the spot;
    • cleaning, where the dentist or hygienist removes tartar buildup from the teeth;
    • x-rays, where the dentist can view a person's bite, identify teeth that are impacted, large or crooked tooth roots, and tooth decay between teeth, under the gumline and under old fillings; and,
    • some education, where the dentist advises various procedures based on the results of the checkup.

    For kids, the dentist is also looking at issues guiding the development of oral health, and making sure parents and children know how to care for little teeth. They're looking into things like thumb-sucking, airway obstruction and appropriate management of sports injuries. For older adults, dentists are paying special attention to the rate of gum disease. And for everyone, they're drawing a very significant connection between nutrition and the rate of problems with the teeth.

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