So you’ve not had a ‘dental check-up’ in a while?
What’s actually the point in a check-up? It’s a waste of money, right?! WRONG!!!
Time flies, does’t it? Before you know it maybe 6 months, a year, maybe 2 years (gasp) have passed since you last had your teeth checked.
Maybe you’ve been trying to arrange a ‘check up’ only to be told the nearest appointment is months down the line.
Or maybe you think you don’t need one because you’re teeth are absolutely fine, you’ve had no toothache and what’s the point in wasting money for 2 minute appointment just to be told everything is fine, see you next time.
Well firstly these should not be 2 minute appointments, they are important and you do need them regularly…. here’s why.
Lets start by forgetting this ‘check-up’ phrase because it’s so much more than that. Let’s call it a Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment.
So, your Oral Health Assessment should be carried out every 6 months.
On this Assessment we do many things.
*We have a chat about any concerns you are having. Have you been having any toothache, any twinges anything concerning you at all. No? Well that’s good but there is still lots we need to look at.
* We will look at your jaw and the movement it makes ensuring there is no clicking or locking and that the movement is nice and smooth.
* Next we will look at the soft tissue of the mouth making sure everything looks nice and healthy and that there’s no suspicious looking patches that might need further investigation. This includes an oral cancer check- with 18 people diagnosed every day and with mouth cancer and numbers rising by a third in the last decade we can not explain the importance of detecting the early signs of this, signs which can be picked up at your oral health assessment.
* Your gums are the next area of attention. What is there to check on your gums I hear you ask! Well, lots is the answer. We need to make sure they are healthy and identify any problems before they start being a problem!
Gum disease is very common and some figures suggest it affects 3 out of every 4 adults over 35 in the UK. Gum disease can lead to nasty abscesses, bad breath, receding and in the worst cases looseness and loss of teeth.
Now for the teeth.
* If we haven’t seen you before we will create a computerised digital record of your teeth. This record will outline any treatment you’ve had in the past on each and every tooth, record any missing teeth, areas that have had fillings, what kind of fillings, any crowns, veneers and so on.
We will record any areas that need attention to bring your mouth back to full dental fitness – maybe a chipped tooth needing repaired or a cavity needing attention.
As well as the things you might be aware of (a small chip can feel massive on your mouth touching it with your tongue) we will look for any areas which look suspicious such as a dark area of decay which hasn’t yet caused a cavity and hasn’t reared it’s ugly head yet causing you any pain.
Catching these things at the early stages can only be a good thing, not only will it be treated before it becomes painful but a tiny little filling is better than one taking up half your tooth when the decay is left to work it’s way through the rest of the tooth and a tiny filling you will be pleased to hear is likely to be kinder on your wallet than a larger one or the risk of further treatment like root canal therapy if it’s left untreated.
* We’ll take photographs. We have a high-tech intra-oral camera which will show you things inside your mouth you would not believe! This helps us to explain what we are looking at and show you anything causing us concern.
* There’s a chance we might take some x-rays. Our eyes are good, our cameras are brilliant but sometimes we still need a bit of confirmation what’s going on under the surface and this is where our x-rays come in.
* As well as the area’s we are looking at they can be helpful in other ways too. If you have a wee phobia then coming along for routine appointments builds your confidence and also means you are not just visiting us when in pain and in need of some dreaded treatment.
Or perhaps your 2 minutes (yes 2 minutes) each time you are cleaning your teeth could be a bit more effective- did you know there’s a tiny bit at the back right you are just missing or a little bit at the front you are brushing just a bit to hard on…. these are things we can pick up on.
That’s it, your Oral Health Assessment is complete.
So everything is looking peachy, nothing to be concerned about, pat on the back you have peace of mind that your teeth and mouth are in a good fit state and off you go smiling for another 6 months, fantastic.
If that’s the case then great. If there are a couple of areas needing attention then we will discuss them with you, talk about the options and arrange to have these treated at your earliest convenience.
So you can see that this appointment should not just be an in-out thing. It’s not just putting pennies in your dentists holiday fund and it should not be put off and disregarded as not important…. they are extremely important and I hope giving you a bit more information as to what happens at these highlights that.