There's a common misperception that dental care is a luxury, and it's time to set the record straight. Regular dental exams (aka "dental checkups") are just like regular medical exams and physicals - both are preventive measures to help you stay healthy in the long run. What's more, your oral health and overall health are inextricably intertwined: Gum disease has been linked to diabetes, pregnancy has been linked to tooth loss and stress may cause TMJ, dry mouth syndrome and other dental problems.
The best way, if not the only way, to protect yourself against dental health disasters is to stay on top of your dental exams/dental checkups. The ADA recommends a checkup at least once every six months.
Professional Dental Cleaning
Most of us know that in order to maintain total health, good oral health is essential. There is an increasing amount of literature and scientific research showing the link between oral and overall health. With the evidence mounting, dental cleanings are probably on your mind. Here are some facts about dental cleanings.
Two Times Per Year
You are probably aware that most dentists recommend that you get a professional dental cleaning, or prophylaxis, every six months.
The term dental prophylaxis means the "removal of dental plaque, dental calculus, and stains from the exposed and unexposed surfaces of the teeth by scaling and polishing as a preventive measure for the control of local irritants."
This is what your dentist or dental hygienist is doing during your professional dental cleaning. You also get a full set of X-rays during this appointment to ensure that you don't have any cavities or tooth decay.
If there are dental cavities present, your dentist will usually correct any and all dental problems he or she finds. The two of you will decide upon a dental treatment plan together. Depending on your choice, your dentist can usually clean your teeth before or after any scheduled treatment.