Why You Shouldn't Miss Your Biannual Dental Cleanings and Checkups

o you have your next dental checkup scheduled already? If not, give McAllen Dental a call to book your appointment. We have o

Are you one of those people who dread going to the dentist or think you're too busy to do so? If so, it's time to reverse that thinking, because those biannual dental checkups and teeth cleanings could save you a lot of grief and money down the line. 

Our dentists at McAllen Dental can provide you with the expert care needed to stay on top of your dental health before problems arise. In recognition of National Dental Hygiene Month, which is this October, our dentists and hygienists want to share why we think it’s important for you to visit us every six months. 

Here’s what goes into your biannual dental checkup 

Some people get their teeth checked once a year, but twice a year is better, and people with gum disease may need even more frequent visits according to some research.

A 2013 study of dental insurance data from more than 5,000 patients found that 22% of those in a higher-risk group, including smokers and people with diabetes, suffered an extraction when seeing dentists annually. Only 17% of a similar group of patients who kept up semi-annual care required an extraction.

People at greater risk for dental problems should make sure they see a dentist twice a year. These high-risk patients include:

Here’s what you can expect during your checkup and cleaning.

Your dental examination

At your annual checkup, your McAllen dentist checks your teeth for cavities, gum disease, and signs of oral cancer. We also check your tongue, throat, head and neck for swelling, redness or cancer symptoms.

We might use a special tool to measure the depth of pockets between your gums and teeth. Deep pockets can signal gum disease, usually in the form of gingivitis, when gums are inflamed and bleed easily.

Cavities can develop much faster than many people realize. It’s not uncommon for a patient who has been free of cavities for years to suddenly develop two or three at once. That’s among the biggest reasons why you’re smart to climb into our dentist’s chair twice a year.

X-rays can spot cavities, but they aren’t necessarily done at every checkup unless you’re having continued dental problems. Talk to us about how frequently we typically takes X-rays, which could be every two years if you’re not having any pain or sensitivity to hot and cold.

Most importantly, tell us about any dental issues that concern you, like pain on chewing,  bleeding gums, and sensitivity to hot and cold.

Your dental cleaning

Hopefully, you brush and floss your teeth in the morning and at night. That’s a good start that clears away food and some plaque -- clusters of colorless bacteria that form constantly below the gum lines. Plaque releases acid that can damage your enamel and tooth structure, and cause gum disease. 

Brushing and flossing don’t remove all plaque, which hardens into smelly tartar.  During your biannual checkup, a dental hygienist will use a scaler to pick away at plaque and tartar, leaving your mouth feeling fresh and less prone to gum disease. 

After, the hygienist polishes your teeth using a gritty toothpaste and a high-powered brush. Last, we floss between your teeth to remove anything that shouldn’t be there.

Do you have your next dental checkup scheduled already? If not, give McAllen Dental a call to book your appointment. We have offices in McAllen, Mercedes, and Penitas, Texas, to serve you. 

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