Many of our patients wonder why they need to have a regular check-up. Dr David Ewen explains:
One of the main reasons dentists recommend that you have a regular check-up even if you are not experiencing any adverse symptoms is to give the dentist an opportunity to identify minor issues before they become major ones.
Even if you have a good oral health regime at home this should be supplemented with a regular check-up with your dentist. Sometimes, despite our best efforts at maintaining good oral hygiene, cavities develop and a regular check-up may help to identify these while they are small and easy to treat.
Early intervention may help you to avoid infection and any associated pain and at this stage minimal intervention is also often a more cost effective treatment option. A minor filling can be a little as $150, whereas a crown to replace a substantially damaged tooth usually costs somewhere in the region of $1500.
When you visit the dentist, it isn't just your teeth that he will examine; he will also monitor the health of your gums and the bone around your teeth. Periodontal (gum) disease can cause severe pain and result in a loss of bone density around the roots of your teeth. In severe cases where there is insufficient healthy bone structure to support your teeth, there may be little option but to remove them. The longer gum disease goes untreated the greater the likelihood of you losing your teeth and the more advanced the disease becomes the more difficult and expensive it is to treat.
In rare cases, the mouth can provide early warning signs of more significant health issues. In a recent case, a patient attended the clinic for her regular check-up and presented with recurrent generalised tooth pain. After a comprehensive examination, no direct cause could be discovered and the patient was referred to an Endodontist for further assessment. The Endodontist was also unable to establish the cause of the patient's discomfort and referred her for an MRI scan. The scan revealed the presence of a Meckel Cyst growing within one of the cavities of the bones of the skull for which she is now receiving treatment.
So there are good reasons for a regular check-up, but how often do you need to visit the dentist?
How often a patient should visit the dentist varies, but for most people a check-up, clean and fluoride treatment every 6 months should be enough to help your dentist check that your oral health is as it should be. For some patients we may suggest a 3 monthly check and clean depending on whether any issues of concern have been identified.
The most commonly used health funds generally allow for a check-up every 6 months or 2 check-ups a year and will cover a percentage of the cost depending on each individual policy, and for those patients that need to see a little more frequently most health funds will allow for an "interim clean". If you are unsure if you are covered, simply call your health fund to check. You can also call us to see when you last attended for a check-up and clean.
So if you haven't seen your dentist for a check-up in a while, why don't you call us at Roma Street Dental and book your appointment now.