Yes, Yes, Yes and one hundred times YES! Seeing the dentist at least twice a year has always been the rule of thumb. But many may ask why, and why during my orthodontic treatment?
While you may think that you are doing a good job brushing and flossing at home, dentists, hygienists and their team are trained to take a deeper look inside your mouth and diagnose and treat and problems that you may not see or think are problems to begin with. Routine radiographs (x-rays) allow the dentist to see if there are cavities hiding between your teeth that you would not be able to see until they are VERY large. The x-rays also allow the dentist and hygienist to see if there is calculus (hardened, almost fossilized plaque) under the gums and between the teeth. Based on the visual, tactile and x-ray exam by the dentist, they can give you recommendations to remedy any of the problems that they find. This can include a filling, a preventative mouth rinse to prevent a very small cavity from getting larger, a deep cleaning to remove the calculus from under your gums that you are not able to do at home, and even recommendations on how to brush and floss better to improve your oral health. Dentists are also trained to look for early signs of oral cancer that often go unnoticed by the patient as they are usually painless and hiding on the sides of the tongue. Seeing your dentist at least twice a year is critical to maintain good oral health and overall health as your mouth IS connected to the rest of your body! Also, women that are expecting a child should also see the dentist prior to delivering the baby to make sure that her oral health is in good shape as the bacteria that causes cavities CAN be passed from one person to another!
But if I have braces or clear aligners can I skip the dentist until my treatment is done? No, please don’t! Although orthodontists are dentist by training prior to specialization, it is still very important to see the dentist at least twice a year during your orthodontic treatment. Sometimes, it may be suggested that some people see the dentist more frequently based on individual needs. As braces do make it more challenging to brush and floss, you still need to be evaluated by a dentist to prevent any issues from arising. The orthodontist and their team will update you about your brushing and flossing at each visit, however, a professional cleaning and check up are still necessary. The orthodontist will also make a referral to the dentist outside of your six-month check ups in the event they suspect there is a cavity or another issues that needs to be addressed. In patients with missing teeth, we may need coordinate care with your dentist to work on replacing those teeth; we work as a team to make sure you have a healthy, functional, and esthetic outcome!
No matter the circumstances, we do encourage you to continue regular dental visits before, during and after orthodontic treatment to establish and maintain good oral health care and good oral health habits. Straight teeth and a functional bite are very important, but keeping your teeth and mouth healthy are just as important and shouldn’t be forgotten about during your journey to a beautiful smile!
If you ever have any questions about your oral health or need a referral to a dentist at any point during treatment, please do not hesitate to ask us! We want to help everyone achieve beautiful, healthy smile!
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