Routine dental visits are supposed to happen every six months. If you are in the habit of going to these appointments then they can start to feel routine, and maybe unimportant. Is it ever okay to miss a routine dental visit? If you have to miss an appointment do you really need to reschedule? The short answer to the question posed above is, ‘no, it is not okay to miss a routine dental visit.’ In order to understand why it’s not okay to miss a routine dental appointment you need to learn about what happens during those visits.
Remove plaque and tartar
During your routine dental visits, the hygienist will thoroughly clean your teeth. During that process, any plaque or tartar that is on your teeth will be removed. Plaque is a substance that can build up on your teeth but can be removed with thorough daily oral care. Tartar is plaque that remained on your teeth and hardened over time. If you ever miss some plaque while brushing – which is easy to do – the plaque will harden into tartar. When you get tartar on your teeth the only way to remove it is by scraping it off. Skipping out on a routine dental appointment allows plaque and tartar to remain on your teeth for longer. This can lead to decay and gum disease.
Check for decay
During a routine dental visit, your dentist will check your teeth for signs of decay. Your dentist can use imaging, a visual inspection, and also the way that your teeth feel to look for signs of decay. Finding decay early makes treatment much easier. Getting the decay treated will save more of your tooth and help you avoid other issues such as pain and infection. Missing a routine dental appointment when you have decay will allow it to continue eating away at your tooth for several more months without intervention.
Look for signs of gum disease
Your dentist will also look for signs of gum disease during your routine dental appointments. Gum disease can lead to inflammation, bleeding, pain, and tooth loss. Fortunately, the earliest stage of gum disease – gingivitis – can be treated quickly and easily. You can often reverse the symptoms of gingivitis by improving the quality of your oral care routine. If you miss a routine visit to the dentist it can give gingivitis time to worsen into the more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis.
The work that is done during routine dental visits is an important part of properly caring for your oral health. If something comes up and you have to miss a routine dental visit, reschedule it as soon as possible. Many serious oral issues start out as minor, treatable problems if they are caught during routine dental visits.