There aren’t many things we do that are not governed by a schedule. Our cars require regular maintenance; we need to get our kids up, fed and out the door at a certain time so they won’t be late for school, and there are a whole boatload of other things like dry cleaners, haircuts and trips to the gym. Unfortunately, regular trips to the dentist don’t get the same attention because we put them off or we don’t understand how important regular checkups and cleaning are for our oral health. Let’s be honest, going to the dentist, no matter how benign the dental treatment, is not on anyone’s Top 10 List of Fun Things To Do—but it is an essential part of good oral hygiene.
If you asked 10 people how often they should visit a dentist for a checkup and teeth cleaning, most would say twice a year, which is considered the global standard. However, at Hitomi Dental Office our program of comprehensive dental care includes three annual visits.
Catching Problems Before They Start
Here’s why. Preventive dentistry, or keeping small problems from turning into big problems, is the key, and regular checkups and cleaning are the foundation upon which it rests. These are a few ways preventive dentistry can help keep your teeth and gums in excellent condition for years to come.
First of all, it’s important to know that tap water in Japan does not contain fluoride, an important cavity-fighting mineral. Within about a year of living here, the tap water starts to have an effect on your teeth. You’re probably saying: “But I only drink bottled water!” However, there are other ways you may encounter tap water, such as by rinsing your mouth when you brush, or cooking.
This means that you need to be on the lookout for cavities, especially when they’re in their early stages. A cavity can grow fast, so the sooner you can treat it the less likely it will turn into something more serious that may require a root canal or extraction. Regular checkups can help you catch trouble before it starts.
More Than Just the Teeth
More frequent checkups also allow your dentist to spot periodontal disease before it becomes a problem. Periodontal means “around the tooth,” which is why we are more familiar with periodontal disease being referred to as “gum disease.” The causes of periodontal disease range from genetics, which we can’t control, to lifestyle factors such as smoking, poor diet choices and excess alcohol consumption—if these are moderated, it can contribute to better oral health. As with all diseases, periodontal disease can be classified into different types based on severity.
Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. For people suffering from this condition, their gums are likely to become red, swollen, and tender. They may also bleed easily during daily cleanings and flossing.
Mild periodontitis occurs when gingivitis is left untreated. This stage of gum disease shows evidence of periodontal pockets. This is when gums pull away from the teeth, causing the crevice between the teeth and gums to deepen. It also causes early loss of bone around the teeth.
Moderate to advanced periodontitis is the most severe stage of gum disease, and features significant bone loss, deepening of periodontal pockets, and possibly receding gums surrounding the teeth. Teeth may loosen and need to be extracted.
The short story on periodontal disease is that symptoms should not be ignored.
Dental Care for General Health
We have discussed the obvious benefits of teeth cleaning, which is to keep the only 32 teeth we’ll ever have healthy, but did you know that teeth cleaning is important to our general health? Your blood stream isn’t the only way that bacteria can enter your body. A bacterial infection in your mouth can lead to more serious diseases such as heart disease, joint inflammation and respiratory problems. Having a clean healthy mouth is not just about your teeth—it’s about your whole body.
At Hitomi Dental Office, we are proud of the latest in dental technology that our skilled dentists employ to give our patients the best teeth cleaning in Japan. No longer is it necessary to “scale,” or scrape the tooth surface with a handheld scaler. Our approach to painless and comfortable teeth cleaning begins with Airflow, a method for removing biofilm and stains with the help of kinetic energy. Using a mixture of air, cleaning powders and water, teeth, implants and soft tissue are effectively yet gently cleaned. In addition, we then perform PMTC (professional mechanical tooth cleaning). During this procedure, the dentist cleans those hard-to-reach places to make sure your teeth sparkle. Polishing is done with a rotating brush or rubber polisher and a special toothpaste to bring out the natural shine of your freshly cleaned teeth. Then, fluoride is applied to protect your teeth for several months.
But at Hitomi Dental Office teeth cleaning is much more than, well, teeth cleaning. We check, not only for the existence of cavities, but for those pesky periodontal pockets we talked about earlier. We use X-rays to monitor any bone loss and measure gum pocket depth—especially if we are treating a patient for periodontal disease so they can see, in real time, the progress their treatment is making. As mentioned earlier, harmful bacteria can enter your body through the mouth as well as the blood stream, so we treat each patient with appropriate antibiotics to make sure their mouth is as bacteria-free as possible.
Regular teeth cleaning along with a checkup is not simply recommended to promote good oral hygiene, it is required. That’s why we at Hitomi Dental Office take this essential element of preventive dentistry a step further, by providing you with the most technologically advanced and comfortable cleaning you will ever experience.
Ready for a checkup at Hitomi Dental Office? Make an appointment!