Contrary to popular belief, the role of dental professionals is not just to fix your teeth. Practitioners are highly trained to look after your teeth and gums but also to recognise any potential problems and hopefully prevent them before they affect your wellbeing.
So, if you are thinking of giving your appointment a miss, think about the risks – if you miss an appointment it could end up costing you much more in the long run, not just because extensive treatment can be expensive but also in terms of your health and your peace of mind. Take a look at just some of the reasons why you should visit your dentist regularly:
Although you may follow a thorough oral health routine, there are still some areas of the mouth that can be missed. If plaque builds up it can turn into tartar, which is very difficult to remove without professional cleaning. Regular cleaning by a dental practitioner prevents tartar from eroding the teeth and gums or forming cavities and gum disease. Your dental practitioner will also discuss your oral hygiene techniques and offer advice or recommend products to improve your oral health and highlight any particular areas that require more attention.
The mouth is often described as a gateway to the rest of the body and keeping the teeth and gums healthy not only prevents unpleasant breath, decay and disease but could also help you ward off other general health problems. For example, if the mouth is unhealthy and gum disease develops, it could increase the risks of serious health problems such as heart disease, arthritis and diabetes. Dental professionals will also discuss your lifestyle, your general health and give you advice about your diet and the use of tobacco and alcohol.
When you visit the dentist regularly, X-rays of your teeth and jaw are taken. This enables dental professionals to clearly see any defects in the teeth and also to investigate below the surface of your mouth. From these images, they can identify any problems that might not be invisible to the naked eye, for example impacted or blocked teeth, bone damage, cysts, swelling or tumours.
Cancer is a serious disease but if diagnosed at an early stage it can often be effectively treated. Dental professionals are trained to recognise the signs and symptoms of oral cancer and will check your head, neck and lymph nodes for any abnormalities. This only takes a professional a few minutes but crucially, by attending a dental check up every six months the likelihood of catching these diseases in time is raised significantly.
Millions of people avoid the dentist every year. Some say they are too afraid to go to the dental practice, others say they haven’t got time, they can’t afford it or they have not been able to find a dentist that is taking on NHS patients. Whatever the reason, it’s worth putting in a bit of time and effort and making an appointment, because you may be pleasantly surprised about what modern dentistry has to offer.
Going to the dentist is often depicted as a painful and unpleasant experience in the majority of films, television and other media. Consequently, a great many people are worried that a trip to the dentist is going to hurt. Some people do not like the sounds and smells of the dental surgery that often bring back memories of bad experiences in the past, whilst others feel terribly vulnerable. However, advanced modern dentistry is an altogether gentler experience and dental treatments are now virtually painless.
Dental practices make a point of creating a calm, harmonious environment with friendly, welcoming staff to put patients at ease. Dentists and other professionals are keen to create a good patient/practitioner relationship to instil confidence and trust. Often there is background music or television to make the sights and sounds of the surgery less noticeable. Furthermore, you are not likely to enter the treatment room and see a range of scary instruments on display and even the dreaded drill is quieter nowadays. Dental professionals are extremely experienced at meeting anxious patients and are willing to take the time to make you feel comfortable and to talk everything through before any treatment takes place. Similarly, many practices offer relaxation techniques and for patients that have extreme dental fear or phobias a great many dental professionals are trained in sedation.
It is well worth making time for a dental check up and it is so much easier than you might think. Some practices have online booking systems so that you can easily choose an appointment that fits conveniently into your routine. In addition, many dental practices now offer early morning and evening appointments as well as Saturday bookings to fit around busy schedules. Practitioners may also book long appointments and perform more treatment to reduce the number of visits that you need to make.
Regular dental check ups are an investment. If you miss an appointment, you could be missing a potential problem that may need more invasive and more expensive treatment in the future. Consider this: an appointment to have your teeth checked and professionally cleaned is far less expensive (and probably more comfortable) than complicated restoration treatment.
When it comes to the cost of treatment most dental practices have finance options available and, in some cases, treatment can be spread over a time period to make it more affordable. There are also a number of dental plans as well as insurance policies that can be used to cover the cost of treatment.
Many people have experienced difficulty finding an NHS dental care in the past but when did you last try? Agreed, the number of patients that were seen by an NHS dentist reached its lowest in 2008 but with a call to action, increased manpower and funding, this number has increased gradually and a larger proportion of the adult population now see an NHS dentist.
Unlike the GP, you do not have to be in a certain catchment area to go to the dentist. You can choose a practice in an area that is convenient to you, maybe near to where you work or close to your children’s school.
If you would like some help to find an NHS dentist or information on dental care, visit NHS Choices at www.nhs.uk where you can enter a postcode and view a full list of services in that location. Each dental practice is listed with directions and ratings as well as those that are accepting new NHS patients.
As we have discussed, attending regular dental check-ups and keeping your teeth and gums healthy is a worthwhile goal. But what else can you do between appointments? It essential to implement a good home hygiene routine to keep your mouth in the possible condition and the clinically-proven and advanced CB12 oral health products, will help you to do just that.
 Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) NHS Dental Statistics for England 2015-16, Quarter 1. November 2015. http://content.digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB19117/nhs-dent-stat-eng-15-16-q1-rep.pdf [Accessed 19th April 2017]