In this day and age, more and more people are keeping their teeth a lifetime! You are never too old to see the dentist and dental team! Healthy teeth and gums are for everyone.

Dental care starts with going for a check – up. Even if you brush and floss every day, you cannot see all the parts of your own mouth. You may have false teeth (dentures) or dental implants. These need to be check routinely by your dentist. Sometimes, certain medications make your mouth dry or can make your gums grow. You need to have a dentist take a closer look.

Yes, check ups cost money. But, in the long run, it is far better to find out about dental problems early. This will help you avoid more serious or costly dental work later on.

Your dental check-up will include some or all of the following:
1. Medical and dental history update.
Be sure to tell your dentist:
• if you smoke (smoking can lead to serious problems like oral cancer0
• allergies
• medications taken
• health problems or medical conditions
• fears you have about seeing the dentist
• any dental or mouth problems you have
• stresses in your life (Yes, this can affect your oral health!)
All of these bits of information assist the dental team in your treatment plan. It is surprising how all of these areas tie into one’s dental health.

2. Examination and treatment.

Your dentist looks for gum disease, cavities, loose fillings, broken teeth, infection, cancer and sign of other problems that can affect your general health. Many small problems can be caught before they get big. The small problems can often be treated right away.

The check-up appointment may include a dental “cleaning”. The dentist or dental hygienist scrapes away tartar (calculus) deposits that could cause gum disease. Polishing may be required for stain removal.

3. Advice.

When your dentist is finished the check-up, you will be able to ask questions and seek advice.

Next week – caring for your natural teeth.