People often make the mistake of assuming that a dentist is someone who fixes teeth when something goes wrong, such as a cavity. However, general dentistry is a critical part of maintaining your oral health, and it also affects health issues well beyond your mouth. Everyone should understand the importance of general dentistry for the following three reasons.
Cleanings and Checkups
The ideal scenario is that you've achieved good oral health and can then maintain it with minimal intervention by a dentist. You will still need regular cleanings and checkups though.
Cleanings keep plaque from building up around your teeth and gums. Plaque comes from your bloodstream, and it can accumulate between the gums and teeth. Left there, the plaque can serve as an ideal host environment for bacteria that promote tooth decay and gum disease. Regular cleanings will keep this process under control.
Checkups are important for seeing how everything is going. Your dentist can see how your teeth and gums are holding up. If there are any problems like plaque buildup, they can address those.
A dentist sometimes needs to take preventative measures. If your teeth are poorly positioned, for example, a dentist might start talking with you about braces or aligners. Even if your teeth are currently in good shape, badly positioned teeth can create problems with chewing and brushing. In extreme cases, people can even develop speech issues. Likewise, people often experience pain when they have unresolved dental problems. Your dentist can work with you and consult with specialists to devise a preventative solution.
Whenever there is a general dentistry issue, early intervention is critical. The difference between a filling and an extraction often boils down to how quickly you notice the problem. If you're attending regular checkup appointments, then there's a good chance your dentist will notice any problems like cavities or developing gum disease. They can then treat the immediate problem and set you on a course for preventing the issues that might have caused it from recurring.
Notably, dentists can also frequently diagnose issues other than cavities and gum disease. The state of a patient's oral health can sometimes tell a dentist whether they have conditions like cancer or diabetes. Similarly, good oral health can prevent forms of heart disease that start with infections in the gums. Even if the issue isn't within the purview of general dentistry, your dentist might give you a heads-up to visit another doctor for an exam.
Contact a local general dentistry office to learn more.