When it comes to your oral health, going to the dentist should be standard practice for everyone. You should visit your dentist every six months, according to the American Dental Association. Depending on the type of work you need to be done and the state of your dental health, you may need to see a dentist or dental specialist more often. Use this guide for an idea of the various types of dentist appointments you may find yourself making.
One of the reasons you should visit your local dental office at least twice a year is so they can perform thorough exams on your mouth. At this time, you’ll have X-rays to check the underlying structure of your teeth, as well as any problems with your jaw. While your dentist will perform a visual exam inside your mouth using hand tools, the X-ray is great for finding problems below the gum line.
Speaking of gums, these types of dentist appointments check for signs of gum disease. Signs of gum disease include swollen or bleeding gums. The gums may also begin to recede and cause the tooth to loosen. If gum disease progresses and goes untreated, you may experience tooth loss. By making regular visits, as suggested by the ADA, you’ll be able to prevent or at least stop this disease before it worsens.
General dental services will also check for cavities and signs of infection such as abscesses, or oral cancer. According to Dental Hawk, the dentist will check the soft tissues in your mouth for swelling, cuts, and sores. The dentist will also talk to you about your overall dental history and if you’ve been experiencing any pain in your teeth or gums. They may also ask about your general health, smoking habits, and how you practice daily oral hygiene.
You can also expect professional teeth cleaning at these types of dentist appointments. According to Healthline, everyone should brush and floss their teeth twice daily. Even if you follow that standard oral hygiene practice, your dentist can clean your teeth much better at the checkup. Your dentist or hygienist will use hand tools to get rid of any lingering debris between your teeth. The dental team will use a professional buffing tool to polish the teeth on all surfaces, leaving your teeth feeling smoother and extra clean. At this time, they may be able to get rid of some light surface stains.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking this professional tooth cleaning will make up for six months of not brushing your teeth daily! The point of professional teeth cleaning is to give your mouth an extra cleaning to scrub away any underlying plaque or stains that your daily toothbrushing may miss.
Your teeth may feel and look visibly better after a professional tooth cleaning. However, you won’t have the movie star white smile that you may desire. For a beautiful white smile that you’ll often see on TV and in movies, you’ll need to visit a cosmetic dentist for these types of dentist appointments.
According to WebMD, the cost of services at these types of dentist appointments often ranges from $500 to $1000. While that may seem like a big expense, you’ll walk away with perfectly white teeth that can last for as long as two years with good maintenance. When your teeth begin to lose their whitening shine, go back to the cosmetic dentist for a retouch.
If you’re concerned about time, you may be pleased to know that dental teeth whitening is often one of the easiest and shortest procedures you can get. The process often takes less than an hour and it’s something that you can do on a lunch break. According to reports, professional dental whitening can lighten your teeth as much as eight shades lighter than before. In other words, if you walk into a cosmetic dentist hiding your smile, you’ll walk out ready to take photos.
One of the ways you can extend your whitening treatment is by avoiding staining foods. If you enjoy coffee, tea, and wine, you may want to either reduce consumption or remember to brush after every time you drink these items. Don’t forget that smoking causes severe stains and discoloration on teeth. So, if you don’t want to waste the money spent at your cosmetic dentist, you may want to make the effort to quit smoking.
Implant Placements or Restorations
Are you someone with extra spaces between teeth or who has several missing teeth? Missing teeth can affect your life in many ways. It can create speech impediments, reduce your confidence, and have a bad impact on your eating habits. The purpose of your teeth is to help you chew and grind food. With several missing teeth, that can be a problem. Since most natural healthy items may be crunchy and hard, like carrots and apples, you may end up avoiding the most nutritious foods to consume sugary manufactured items that may be easier to chew.
Thanks to advances in dental technology, there are more permanent options to replace teeth so you don’t have to rely on dentures. To schedule the types of dentist appointments that will help you with missing teeth, find a dentist or dental oral surgeon that specializes in tooth implants.
However, you should be patient when making these types of dentist appointments. Dental implants are a type of oral surgery. Therefore you need approval before you can get it done. During your initial consultation with an implant specialist, they’ll conduct a thorough examination of your teeth, gums, and jaw bone. The process involves titanium implants adhering to your jawbone over several months, so they need to ensure that your overall health is strong enough to take on that process. According to Dentaly, people with autoimmune or chronic diseases like diabetes, gum disease, smokers, or poor oral health aren’t good candidates for implant surgery.
Once the implants have seared into your jawbone, dental restorations serve as a final part of giving you natural-looking teeth. Your dentist will place custom-made crowns over the titanium post. From that point on, you’ll be able to smile, eat and drink as normal.
Replacement Crown Services
Dental implants aren’t the only time when you may need crown services. If you ever had a root canal or damaged your natural teeth with a big crack or chip, your dental specialist may recommend a crown to go over it to restore its appearance. During these types of dentist appointments, you may have to make about two trips before you can walk away with your new restoration.
The first step in getting a dental crown is a mold of your teeth. Your dental specialist will use that imprint and send it to a dental lab that’ll formulate the crown, which you should have back within a week or two. When the crown restoration is ready, you’ll go back to the office so your dentist can put it on your tooth. Ideally, your crown should stay on your tooth permanently. However, there may be some cases where a crown may become loose due to dental trauma or biting down on something hard. If that happens, go back to a dentist that can handle crowns so that they can fit a new one for you. However, if you still have the old crown that fell out and it’s in good condition, they may be able to put it back in.
Maybe you don’t want to go through the process of getting dental implants to restore a few missing teeth. In that case, you may consider getting dental bridges. These types of dentist appointments are similar to any other crown restoration appointment. The main difference is you’re getting fit for more than one crown at a time. A bridge will normally have two or three crowns on it. They will usually fit over at least one existing natural tooth as a way to connect everything.
Jaw and Lower Jaw Surgery
If you’ve been diagnosed with certain disorders of the lower jaw or suffered trauma to the area, you may need to seek maxillofacial treatment. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon can correct fractures that happen in your cheekbone, nose, lower jaw, and surrounding soft tissue areas. You would make these types of dentist appointments if you have been diagnosed with a tumor in that area.
If that wisdom tooth your dentist warned you about many years ago has begun to sprout and shift your remaining teeth, it may be time to visit an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. These types of dentist appointments are a necessity to remove your wisdom tooth. If all four wisdom teeth are coming in, the surgeon can remove them in the same surgery. During this type of treatment, you’ll be under sedation, so you’ll need someone to drive you home after the procedure. According to New Mouth, it can take approximately 30 minutes to remove all four wisdom teeth at one time.
Some people have a naturally gummy smile. In other words, when they smile, you may see more gums than teeth, so teeth may appear small. If people are subconscious about having such a gummy smile, they can elect to do gum recontouring. These types of dentist appointments are for people who want to reshape their gums to expose more of the underlying teeth. By removing excess gums, your teeth can appear longer.
Are you dealing with teeth that are so loose, it’s hard to eat properly? Has your tooth decayed so much that it’s beyond the point of repair or restoration? If that’s the case, you may need a tooth extraction.
These types of dentist appointments may also be required as a precursor to getting dental implants or dentures. When people get implants or dentures, they’re not always replacing teeth that are already missing. They may elect to have existing teeth pulled if they’re no longer useful and causing pain. Then a dentist can replace them with restorations on the implants or fitted dentures.
Dental Braces Services
Did you know a child can begin seeking orthodontic services as early as seven years old, according to the American Association of Orthodontists? Braces are often associated with kids and teens. However, more adults are taking the plunge to get straighter teeth now. Advances in braces technology have led the way in making more adults comfortable seeking orthodontic services past their teens.
Traditional metal braces are still highly used, as they’re very effective in correcting severe alignment issues such as overbites, underbites, cross bites, and severe crowding. If you don’t want to use traditional braces, Invisalign aligners have taken the orthodontic world by storm. After getting approval for Invisalign treatment, expect to visit your orthodontist every couple of weeks for a new aligner tray. If you follow instructions, you may be able to finish your Invisalign treatment in as little as three months, according to Invisalign. So remember to wear your aligners for up to 22 hours a day, keep them clean, and take them out to eat and drink.
Your local family dentistry practice may be able to help you with braces by referring you to a good orthodontist. When you use a family dentist, they’ll look at your kid’s teeth from a young age and suggest if orthodontic appointments should be necessary. The younger you are when you get orthodontic treatment, the less expensive it’ll be later on. Plus, speech issues are less likely to develop with early orthodontic care.
As you can see, there are many reasons to visit a dentist or dental specialist. Your general dentist should always be the dentist you see at least twice a year for regular checkups and professional dental cleaning. You may see other specialists for cosmetic dental issues, restore missing teeth, handle alignment issues, and more. Now that you understand what the dental care world can offer you, there’s no reason not to take advantage of it. So start making those appointments today!