Many of us are petrified of the dentist and therefore avoid them at all costs.
almost 67% of Indians have never visited a dentist while around 87% of Indians do not believe in visiting one unless there is a problem.Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB), 2009
These figures speak volumes about the existing ignorance of most Indians. Dentists advice people to come for a dental visit every 6 months. Here are some of the reasons why:
- It is vital to keep our teeth clear of plaque, tartar or calculus.
It is not always enough even if you brush twice daily!
While plaque can easily be removed at home using our usual tooth brush or floss, it is not possible to remove tartar or calculus without a professional’s help. Plaque build up over time accumulates calcium from our saliva and becomes harder- forming the calculus or tartar. These require specialised dental equipment such as a the ‘Ultrasonic Scaling Handpieces’ that use ultrasound vibrations in the range of 20-45 kHz and an energised jet of water. This procedure is called ‘Scaling’ and is done only at a dental clinic by a dentist or a dental hygienist.
It is important to undergo scaling at regular intervals as a build up of calculus around a tooth can lead to gum irritation and eventually, bone loss and tooth mobility.
GIF source: gfycat.com
- It is important to check for any signs of new dental cavities or the progression of old ones.
Not always does a dental cavity look like a cavity!
Sometimes, it presents as a mild sensitivity, pain or a discolouration of the tooth surface. This can be commonly missed by us especially if it involves the posterior teeth such as the Molars. However, the trained eyes of a dentist can easily pick this up during a dental examination.
Dental cavities should be filled immediately using biocompatible cements and a failure to do so would lead not only to pain and swelling but also to an ultimate loss of the tooth.
GIF Source: Wikimedia
- Check for any systemic diseases or cancer
Sometimes a dentist would spot an illness before a doctor does!
Dentists can easily spot a myriad of systemic illnesses such as diabetes, auto immune diseases such as Lupus or Rheumatoid arthritis, immune system or vitamin deficiencies and even HPV or HIV. The signs and symptoms for some of these diseases manifest first in the oral cavity and might present as a small ulcer on the oral mucosa, cracked lips or an enlarged lymph node in your face or neck region.
In the event of such suspicious findings, a dentist will refer you to a physician for further tests and confirmation of diagnosis. Early detection commonly saves a lot of time, money and gives a better prognosis.
Similarly, head, neck and oral cancers can easily be detected at a very early stage by a dental professional. These cancers are not just caused by tobacco or alcohol and various other genetic factors, dental factors such as chronic irritation from a broken tooth, diet, viruses such as HPV etc. Therefore, anyone has a risk of developing this form of cancer and early screening and treatment plays a key role in minimising risks and improving treatment outcomes.
In India, the age standardized incidence rate of oral cancer is 12.6 per 100 000 populationWHO
Image Courtesy: Trickycare
The above are some of the vital reasons that validate a visit to the dentist and if you are wondering which dentist to visit or how to go about it, Contact us at: