At EMERGENCY DENTIST OF PORTLAND, we have found that by taking care of your teeth and planning for routine visits, you can prevent many common oral health problems like cavities, tooth infections, and gum disease.
How often should I visit the dentist?
Many of our patients ask how frequently they should visit our office for routine dental care. This is an understandable question because most people associate going to the doctor or dentist with visits to stop discomfort or a perceived health issue. Visiting the dentist is a little different. We want to see you when you aren’t experiencing any problems so that we can keep it that way. Typically, when plaque and bacteria forms on the teeth, you won’t see an immediate problem but if it is left there, you can develop cavities and gum disease. Even small cavities won’t always cause immediate discomfort, making it difficult to judge the condition of your mouth at home. This is why you should visit our office twice a year.
Does everyone need to visit the dentist?
We recommend that everyone visit the dentist at least once per year, regardless of age. Even toddlers need to see the dentist and so do seniors, even ones that wear dentures. This is because everyone is susceptible to getting cavities and gum disease. For example, baby bottle tooth decay can impact two-year-olds that are prone to taking a bottle or juice to bed. Simultaneously, even seniors that have experienced full tooth loss need to visit the dentist to ensure that there are no issues with their gums and that their dentures still fit properly. Tooth loss leads to resorption so the jawbone will change, and this can lead to ill-fitting and uncomfortable dentures. With that in mind, regardless of how old you are or what your situation is – you should visit the dentist for routine dental care.
What procedures should I schedule as part of my routine dental care?
We will look at every single tooth to determine if you have any tooth decay. We will also look at your gums to see if there are signs of gum disease and take images of your mouth to see if you have any infections that are not visible to the naked eye. If we identify anything, we will discuss a treatment plan with you. Otherwise, we will proceed with cleaning your teeth and gums. Depending on your age, we will also recommend specific procedures that can prevent future cavities.
In children, we often recommend dental sealant as well since sealant can be placed onto teeth with deep ridges and work as a barrier, preventing plaque and bacteria from becoming trapped and causing cavities. In adults, this is not a common procedure, however, if you are experiencing tooth sensitivity there are preventative steps we can take so that it doesn’t become worse. Tooth sensitivity normally occurs due to a loss of enamel. This leaves the dentin underneath exposed and susceptible to irritation when you eat or drink. We can perform a bonding procedure to protect the dentin. In order to do so, we will apply a tooth-colored material to the surface of your teeth, shape it, and harden it using a special light. Once done, you will have a natural-looking outer layer that replaces your lost enamel and reduces or eliminates any sensitivity that you may be feeling. This is one procedure that can be easily performed during routine dental care and will often prevent the need for crowns in the future.