Checkups and Cleanings
Frequent Checkups and Cleanings
Early detection is crucial for preventing major problems. Every root canal started out as a small cavity, and every periodontal infection was once a small area of plaque and tartar. Very few dental problems will get better by themselves, so unless taken care of in time, they are very likely to turn into extensive (and EXPENSIVE) needs.
A cavity starts with a small indent on the surface of the tooth, andbacteria get in and destroy healthy tooth structure. If we catch this within a few months or a year, we can very likely restore it with an inexpensive filling. If, however, enough time passes, and bacteria are not removed, the cavity gets larger and finally gets into the nerve. When that happens, the only thing to do is a root canal and crown, at a cost of 10 times that of a filling.
Many patients tell us-“but it doesn’t hurt!” Very often, if a tooth has started to hurt, the cavity has worked its way down to the nerve, and it is too late for a filling.
Gum disease is another problem that can be minimized if dealt with in time. Shortly after your teeth are cleaned, plaque starts to form. Plaque is food debris that is infested with bacteria. Unless brushed and flossed away within 24 hours, it starts to harden and turn into tartar. Once plaque turns into tartar, it cannot be removed with a toothbrush or floss and needs to be scraped away. But when tartar stays for several months, it starts infecting gums. If not dealt with promptly, the infection destroys the bone around teeth. The treatment for gum disease includes periodontal treatments (very thorough cleanings under local anesthetics that take up to 4 visits), antibiotic therapy, and in most severe cases, periodontal surgery.
Considering that most of these problems could be prevented with a timely cleaning and a checkup, you can understand why we are so eager to see you every 6 months at the most. For some, we recommend more frequent schedule because we feel they are more at risk of developing dental problems. Every time you come in for an exam, Dr. Polevoy and Michelle will check your teeth and gums for any signs of decay or infection and make sure that old fillings still seal your teeth.