Is regular dental check-up a necessity?

Beyond yellowing smiles and bad breath, poor oral health can also contribute to a number of issues affecting the whole body.
Image used for representational purpose.
Image used for representational purpose.

KOCHI: We have all heard of the term “prevention is better than cure”. Though a cure is beneficial, it comes with a price, not always monetary, it could also be the emotional trauma one has to go through for relief.

This is especially true in the case of dentistry, as most dental work could be expensive, and multiple visits can be tiring. A lesser chair time and a smaller bill would make every dental visit a pleasant one. For this, one has to follow strict regular dental checkups every six months. Here’s why.

Dental caries: Through regular check-ups, even initial caries can be detected. Also, radiographs can confirm the extent of infection. Gum infection: It can start as slight bleeding of the gums. If not treated, it can result in infection and teeth loss.

Wisdom teeth eruption: A majority of people below the age of thirty can have issues with third molar/wisdom teeth eruption. 

Oral cancer screening: Oral cancer includes cancer of lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard/soft palate and throat. On examination, doctors look for lumps, sores or irregular tissues or even discolouration. 

Patient education: This is a good opportunity for the dentist to educate the patient on keeping oral hygiene, clarify doubts, and also motivate the patient to break harmful habits like smoking, chewing pan etc.

Saves money: Regular check-ups ensure that all small problems are sorted before they turn into a bigger problems. 

It affects overall health

Beyond yellowing smiles and bad breath, poor oral health can also contribute to a number of issues affecting the whole body.

TMJ disorders and bruxism: A common condition that affects the jaw is temporal-mandibular joint disorder or TMD. It is mostly characterised by a clicking/popping sound while opening and closing the mouth. This condition can get painful and often gets confused with ear pain. One reason for it is night grinding. A habit-breaking device like a night guard is given to such patients.

Pregnancy and oral care: Oral health is compromised during pregnancy due to hormonal and non-hormonal changes. Odontogenic infections and their complications have potentially harmful effects on pregnant women and developing foetuses. 

Respiratory diseases: Evidence suggests that oral infections, particularly periodontal infections, may influence respiratory infections like bacterial pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, etc.

(The writer is a consultant endodontist at Medical Trust Hospital in Kochi)

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