Can I Skip My Routine Dental Cleaning?

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Can I Skip My Routine Dental Cleaning?

Frequent preventive appointments to your Atlanta general dentist are important; but when life gets hectic, is it okay to put off regular cleanings and examinations? Below, learn what general dentist Dr. Lee has to say about routine dental appointments.

Looking for a new dental home in Atlanta, GA? Dr. Abbey Lee at Smiles 4 Grant Park has over 17 years of experience in private dental practice, and is a graduate and adjunct faculty member of The Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University. Whether you’re looking for thorough preventive care, gentle restorative care, or cosmetic services for a brand-new smile, Dr. Lee can help you achieve your health and aesthetic smile goals! Contact Smiles 4 Grant Park today at 404.328.7177.

What happens at a routine appointment?

The American Dental Association recommends regular appointments to prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease. Many general dentists recommend an appointment every six months for patients with good overall oral health. These routine appointments allow Dr. Lee and her team to offer a thorough examination of your mouth, checking for health issues which could be negatively impacting your teeth and gums. Typically, routine appointments include:

  • Dental x-rays, in order to help Dr. Lee understand what’s happening below the gum line.
  • In-depth examinations, checking for signs of periodontal disease, tooth decay, bruxism (tooth grinding or clenching), and evidence of tooth trauma, such as chips or cracks. Dr. Lee will also inspect any existing restorations (such as dental crowns or fillings) to ensure they are still functional and strong. Dr. Lee often uses DIAGNOdent, a handheld device that uses fluorescent lighting to catch even the earliest stages of tooth decay that would otherwise be undetectable.
  • Dental cleanings, in order to remove tartar buildup.
  • Oral cancer screenings, checking for visible signs of cancer. Dr. Lee utilizes a ViziLite laser tool, which combines both fluorescent lighting and tissue dyes (chemiluminescent) to identify the smallest tissue abnormalities and lesions on the tongue, gums, tonsils, and inside of cheeks.

Do I really need a routine examination twice a year?

Your oral health is linked to so many other aspects of your overall well-being. By staying diligent about the state of your mouth, you not only can prevent invasive restorative procedures, but you can help improve your body’s overall health.

Regular brushing and flossing at home are the first step in maintaining a healthy mouth, but even the most diligent of brushers can develop tartar on the surface of their teeth. Tartar, or hardened plaque, cannot be removed from at-home brushing; only dental professionals using special tools can effectively remove this destructive, bacteria-filled substance. Failure to have tartar regularly removed can increase in even more build-up, and an increased chance of developing cavities or periodontal disease. For this reason alone, it’s important to not let more than about six months go by before receiving a dental cleaning. The good news is that, with proper brushing at home and regular appointments with Dr. Lee, the amount of tartar needed to be removed each visit will be less; that means you’ll experience faster, more comfortable appointments.

Additionally, one of the best reasons to not put off a regular examination is the fact that, in dentistry, preventive care is significantly more affordable than restorative care. If you are attempting to avoid expensive or lengthy restorative treatments, spending the time and money to attend regular appointments can pay off immensely. For instance, when tooth decay is caught early, a small filling is easier, faster, and much more affordable than a porcelain crown, root canal, or even extraction.

How do I schedule my next appointment?

If it’s been more than six months since your last examination, schedule an appointment with Dr. Lee at Smiles 4 Grant Park. We understand that life gets hectic; however, by making time for regular appointments, you’ll not only protect your smile, but your checkbook, too!

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