Everyone needs to see a dentist with some regularity. In this report, Dr. Blake Perkins of Dental Sleep Medicine in Vancouver, Washington explains how often patients should see their dentists and what can happen if they don’t.
Dr. Perkins says that studies are inconclusive as to the frequency with which teeth should be cleaned. General guidelines suggest cleaning every six months for people who are healthy. Patients with gum disease may need to have their teeth cleaned every three to four months. People with no cavities and no dental problems may be able to visit their dentists just once a year.
A professional hygiene visit will include several things: checking the gums, cleaning and scaling the teeth, and a check-up by a dentist for any signs of oral cancer or anything else that might be going wrong in the head or neck area. Dr. Perkins points out that the teeth are attached to a human body, so a thorough examination is an important part of the visit.
Proper tooth brushing is an important part of good dental health. Dr. Perkins says that the best way for to determine if you are brushing your teeth effectively is to skip the toothpaste and to brush your teeth for two minutes. Then feel around in your mouth with your tongue to see if you feel anything “rough or fuzzy.” If so, those are areas that you are missing when you brush. Then, do the brushing again using toothpaste.
Dr. Perkins explains that bad oral hygiene can cause many problems. The beginning problems usually appear as gingivitis, which is essentially redness and irritation of the gums. If the gingivitis is not dealt with properly, it can become periodontal disease, something that also affects the bone that holds the teeth in place. Failure to treat the disease can result in the loss of teeth.
Dr. Perkins points out that even patients with proper oral hygiene can develop cavities. Tooth decay and gum disease can occur even if a patient seems to be doing everything just right. That’s why it is important for patients to see their dentists regularly. For example, a small cavity found by a dentist can be treated quickly and easily. If a cavity is not promptly treated, it can grow into problem more difficult and expensive to treat.
J. Blake Perkins, DDS, is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine. He is the owner of Today's Family Dentistry of Vancouver, Washington, and he is an expert in the treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). He spoke with Sleep Better TV, providing online sleep breathing disorder video news content. Sleep Better TV is a featured network of Sequence Media Group.