Routine Dental Care and You

seaside family dentistry

Dr. Scott Santos and the rest of the team at Seaside Family Dentistry are often asked by patients what routine dental care means and why regular dental visits are necessary, especially if the patient is cavity-free. In this blog post, we’ll answer these questions by breaking down what routine dental care means for us as well as four main benefits you can expect from following it.

What is Routine Dental Care?

Also known as preventative care, this refers to your twice-a-year visits with Dr. Santos as well as your at-home dental care. At a typical visit to our office, you’ll undergo a professional cleaning with a dental hygienist followed by a dental examination with Dr. Santos. He may also recommend that you receive dental x-rays, fluoride treatments and/or dental sealants during your visit. 

When at home, Dr. Santos recommends that every patient brushes twice a day and flosses once daily.

Main Benefits of Routine Dental Care

Regular dental care is essential to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Not only are you less likely to deal with tooth decay, but any other serious oral issues are more likely to be caught early on. The following are four very important benefits to seeing Dr. Santos regularly:
1. Preventing unhealthy habits. Did you know certain habits can negatively impact your oral health? For example, drinking coffee or red wine can cause your teeth to stain due to the acidity and color of those liquids, while eating sugary candy tends to stick to your teeth, which can cause tooth decay. Additionally, biting your nails can stress and wear down your teeth, resulting in misalignment and plaque buildup.

Folks who smoke or chew tobacco are more likely to experience gum disease, tooth discoloration, tooth loss and oral cancer. Fortunately, most of these oral health issues can be reduced or avoided when you receive regular dental care.
2. Stopping gum disease. Even the most diligent at-home brusher can get plaque buildup on their teeth. When plaque – a sticky biofilm made up of harmful oral bacteria and food particles – builds up on the surface of teeth it transforms into a calcified, yellowish substance called tartar. Tartar discolors your teeth and causes your gum tissue to become irritated and inflamed, which can lead to the development of early-stage gum disease known as gingivitis.

During the early stages of gingivitis, gum tissue can begin to bleed as well as become swollen and tender to the touch. If allowed to progress, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease and the leading cause of permanent tooth loss in adults. This is why at a typical visit to our dentistry a hygienist cleans and polishes your teeth, which removes any buildup of plaque and/or tartar. 
3. Checking for oral cancer.
Oral cancer can develop in any part of your mouth, including lips, gums, tongue and inner cheeks. Because it usually doesn’t present with easy-to-recognize symptoms, oral cancer can develop before you even realize something is wrong. That’s why Dr. Santos is trained to recognize the early signs of oral cancer. Along with your head and lymph nodes, he’ll check your palate, cheeks and tongue for any signs of infection.

With twice-a-year dental exams, the likelihood of Dr. Santos spotting any signs of oral cancer early on is significantly higher than if you visit once every few years. Fortunately, if caught early, oral cancer has an incredibly high survival rate.

4. Saving yourself some money. When left untreated, most oral health problems will not only become worse but also more expensive to deal with. For example, a small cavity can become progressively bigger, requiring a cap or crown to fix instead of a filling. By scheduling regular exams, you will avoid more expensive procedures that are required to repair a problem that has spiraled out of control.

We’re Here For You

Do you have any questions for our Seaside dentistry or need to schedule an appointment with Dr. Santos? Contact us today.