We get asked this a lot in practice. We get a lot of ‘oh but you only want my money’, ‘but I don’t have a problem at the moment so I don’t need to visit the dentist’, ‘but I only came last year’ and so forth. So I’m going to tell you what I told someone the other day who said that they had stopped getting pain from a tooth that needs filling…
This is a fantastic mantra to live by. Stop the problem by preventing the problem in the first place!
The reason why we like you to visit us regularly isn’t to take your money (although, that is an added bonus because we all go to work to earn money!), but so that we can keep an eye on your general oral health.
We don’t want you to keep needing fillings and needing treatment. Unfortunately, sometimes it happens and you do need a filling, but you can bet your bottom dollar that the person who hasn’t been to see us for 3 years, will need far more fillings than a person who visits us every 6 months.
So 6 months is what we aim for. We want everyone to come in every 6 months. However, some patients we like to see every 3 months, and others we can stretch to 9 months or even 12 months. It all depends on your oral health and how well you brush and floss your teeth. Everyone will have some sort of build up on their teeth at some point as it what happens when your saliva mixes with food. Just for some people, they’re better at brushing if off, or they don’t accumulate it as quick. These patients we try to see every 6 months.
We also check for any decay in your teeth that may lead to needing a filling. And if you already have weak spots in your teeth, we keep an eye on them to make sure they aren’t getting any bigger.
We also do oral cancer checks. Oral cancer is on the rise, so you have that piece of mind that we’re checking you for any signs and symptoms.
Some patients struggle with their brushing for whatever reason. It could be that they can’t grip their toothbrush very well due to arthritis, or a teenager might want to be texting back a friend rather than brushing their teeth. This means the plaque may inflame the gums and cause gingivitis, which if not monitored, can turn into periodontitis, which leads to tooth loss. So this means we just need to give them a bit of extra help and may see them every 3 months.
And it’s the scale that’s important. The scaling part gets rid of all the stuck on plaque that, once it goes hard, you can’t get off. The polish just gets rid of staining that won’t harm your teeth, but will look more aesthetically pleasing if we do it.
We only need to take x-rays when it is clinically necessary. The average person will not have that much of a difference between x-rays taken 2 years apart, which is why we take them to monitor. You can see stuff on an x-ray like bone loss, but you will only see it over time. There’s no point in taking x-rays every 6 months or unless there’s a problem with a particular tooth or area of the mouth.
This is where Denplan comes in! It’s a fantastic way to budget your dental care, and you get discounts and a whole host of other benefits too. You should join! Head on over to our Denplan page now to find out more.
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