The importance of dental check ups

Why do dentists recommend regular dental check ups?

Dentistry is moving into a more preventative era and with this said more and more conservative procedures are being carried out routinely. To be preventative and conservative means seeing the dentist more regularly.


So what does a check up entail?

The dentist needs to have a comprehensive evaluation of the jaw joint, muscles, salivary glands, lymph nodes of the neck, soft tissues of the mouth, gums and finally the teeth. X-Rays are a vital diagnostic tool in helping evaluate the mouth and are necessary to check bone and to search for  dental decay between teeth or under fillings or crowns. Normally speaking routine x-rays are taken every 2 years but this interval may be shortened depending on what conditions have been diagnosed on the x-rays. Once all the information from the check up has been evaluated a treatment plan will be formulated to address the patient’s individual needs.


A check up schedule will then be prescribed; this can be anything from 3 monthly to 6 monthly or even 12 monthly, depending on the overall condition of your mouth.


With dentistry evolving into a more conservative/preventative approach small areas of concern may be evaluated over a period of time to see if they are worsening. If they are then these areas need to be treated. By picking up areas that are changing from one check up to the next allows for preventative treatment to take place thereby stopping the need for expensive invasive treatments.


The misperception of a lot of people is that the dentist wants to see them regularly for check ups so that more work can be found in their mouths. When in actual fact the main reason for regular dental check ups is so that problems can be identified when they are small and corrected before they can become painful issues.


There is no substitute for good healthy gums and tooth structure so the dentist wants to try preserve these for as long as possible. Regularly having dental check ups will highlight areas of concern before they become a problem and therefore help to preserve teeth and gums for as long as possible.


I hope you find this article helpful please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any further assistance.


Malcolm Raymond BChD (Pretoria)