We spend much of our precious time looking after everything but ourselves. We tend to our work and family and we don’t have much time spare for looking after number one.
We should set aside ‘me’ time and, being a dentist, my thoughts go to dental health and the maintenance of your smile.
There are two aspects to looking after your smile:
1. That which you do with your dental team and
2. That which you do at home
So let’s look at point number one: it’s traditional practice to have a dental examination and clean once every six months and then x-ray checks every two years and, for most people, this is still true.
If your risk of dental disease is low you could choose to have this done once a year. Alternatively, if your risk of dental disease is high, you could opt to have four checks and cleans per year.
It’s the job of the dentist, to use a buzz phrase, to complete a risk assessment of your tooth and gum health, and then to make a recommendation as to the interval between examinations and cleans. Of course, you have the final say in this, and you can choose more or less frequently as you see fit.
So, what’s in a check up? Well I, as a dentist, check your medical well-being first, and then have a look for lumps and bumps, ulcers and patches in the gum that might be a sign of oral cancer. Let me reassure you that oral cancer is rare and treatable in many cases. We must screen for this for everyone’s peace of mind.
Then we examine your jaw joint, as problems in the bite can cause jaw pain and clicking.
Next up is the skin of the mouth and gums and then finally the teeth.
We can then make recommendations for your on going dental care. Very often, a hygiene visit would be beneficial. Our hygienist is called Sophie, and she is excellent at removing tartar, plaque and staining from teeth. She is also very good in educating you in how best to brush, floss and generally look after your mouth.
Hygienist and therapists can also take impressions of the mouth, x-rays, complete tooth whitening, and Sophie, being a dental therapist, can complete adult and children’s fillings.
Point two: What should I do at home?
Well, keep up your brushing and flossing twice a day and monitor yourself for ulcers. If one appears in your mouth and is there for more than two weeks, then it would be best to have it checked either by ourselves or by your medical GP.
Keep an eye on the sugar level in your diet, keeping this as low as you can manage, as it is frequent sugary snacks that cause dental decay i.e., holes, to appear in your teeth.
And also pick up the phone and book an examination if it’s been longer than twelve months since your last one.