Dentistry: Do You Need It?

Posted: January 9, 2019 By: Comment: 0

A close-up view of a woman patient that is having her teeth examined with dental tools.

The American Dental Association recommends that every person see a dentist at least twice a year. These appointments are critical for avoiding major dental issues that could lead to tooth loss rapidly. Here are just a few reasons you really do need dentistry!

 

What Is Dentistry?

Dentistry focuses solely on the health of the mouth and anything associated with it. Dentists will receive an undergraduate degree (4 years), must complete dental school (4 years) and often do fellowships and additional training after that. A dentist is a professional who has trained in the treatment and correction of the teeth, gums and mouth cavity as a whole. These professionals are also starting to do more services such as dental botox as well, because they are trained to understand and work with the nerves of the face.

 

Dentistry, as mentioned, focuses on the health of your mouth. However, it is not the same as orthodontics either. Orthodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are orthodontists. An orthodontist has received the additional training, but that training was in the structure of the mouth and ways to fix structural issues. Both professionals are very similar, but dentistry and orthodontics won’t perform the same type of services.

 

In dentistry, you can expect to receive services such as:

  • Comprehensive exams (oral cavity)
  • Dental cleanings
  • X-ray imaging
  • Dental fillings
  • Tooth extractions
  • Dental sealants
  • Sleep apnea therapy
  • Laser cavity detection and/or laser tissue treatment
  • Oral cancer screenings
  • Dental implants
  • Cosmetic bonding
  • Dental bridges
  • Botox treatment
  • Porcelain veneers and/or crowns
  • Root canal therapy
  • Teeth whitening
  • Tooth-colored fillings
  • Same-day crowns (E4D)
  • Invisalign treatment (only some dentists)
  • Periodontal treatment
  • Oral hygiene care

 

A patient's teeth covered in tartar and plaque in the left image and the restored smile in the right image that has received extensive dental work.

Why Is Dentistry Important?

The American Dental Association has made various statements about the importance of dentistry and frequent dental visits. How frequent? About every 6 months. These appointments are so important to your health that many insurance plans will cover biannual exams and dental cleanings. However, studies show that only about 65% of people (at least in the U.S.) are actually visiting a dentist each year. Often, that’s only one time. That percentage of people is starting to go down, and children tend to see the dentist even less.

 

Dentistry is the only medical area where the sole focus is on your teeth, gums and mouth. Studies show that the health of your mouth actually affects your overall health. If you have chronic conditions, oral health problems can make those conditions worse (like diabetes), or the conditions can start to cause problems in your mouth (like gum disease or quicker tooth decay).

 

Many people don’t realize that tooth decay and gum disease are major issues, when they are actually the most common issues in the United States. The National Institutes of Health report that tooth decay—which you know by the name of “cavities”—is the most “chronic, prevalent disease” in U.S. children and adults. The problem is even worse outside of the U.S. 92% of people (or more) have had cavities by the time they reach adulthood. About 42% of children have cavities, with about 23% of children having cavities that go untreated. A cavity is an area of your teeth that has decayed—or died—due to oral health, eating, and chronic conditions. Dentistry is the only profession that can remove decayed parts of your teeth and restore your smile once more.

 

Two dental professionals wearing gloves, hair nets and face masks that are doing dental work on a patient's mouth.

Do You Need Dental Services?

Countless health organizations have stated the importance of dentistry and frequent dental visits. The recommendation is to go to the dentist at least twice a year. Comprehensive exams and dental cleanings are the most basic dental services patients receive. These are vital to having good oral health. You can’t physically see decay or gum disease in your mouth until these diseases have reached more chronic states. By that time, some problems may be very hard to fix or reverse.

 

With frequent dental visits, we can find the presence of tooth decay, gum disease, oral cancer and any other oral health issue that is cause for concern. If you are going to the dentist twice a year—which is an hour or less of your time twice a year—you can avoid oral diseases that plague so many. You don’t have to have large cavities that could cost you a tooth or cause infections. These basic dental appointments find the presence of disease and we can help get rid of it easily. It’s much harder when you skip dental services until you have a dental emergency or tooth pain.

 

The Basics You Want

At your biannual appointment, you will get a dental cleaning and comprehensive exam, both of which are fairly quick. With your dental cleaning, we thoroughly brush, floss, polish and buff your teeth to give them a clean shine. We can remove tartar (mineralized plaque) that is very difficult to remove without dentistry tools. You receive thorough flossing and we check your gum pockets for signs of gum disease or infection. For patients that have signs of decay or gum issues, we provide proper oral hygiene instructions and samples for products you can use at home. The dental cleaning will often end with a fluoride treatment to strengthen and protect your teeth.

 

The comprehensive exam afterwards will be done by a dentist and will check for oral cancer signs inside and around your mouth. Dental x-rays that were taken during the cleaning will be assessed for signs of tooth decay. When cavities are found, we set up appointments for the correct dentistry procedures you need. If orthodontics or oral surgeons are needed for major oral health issues, we help you establish that care. Dentistry is an area where many people fall short. At the start of this new year, you can make dentistry a priority in your life. Start by calling Dr. Ania’s office at (303) 872-9940 for your dental appointment!

 

AUTHOR

Dr. Ania Mohelicki

All stories by: Dr. Ania Mohelicki