If you take good care of your teeth and never seem to have any cavities, you might wonder why you should bother going in for a dental checkup every six months. It's not the most fun experience and can be a pain to fit into your busy schedule. However, while the dentist does check for cavities, that isn't the only thing they're checking for in your mouth. There are at least three other big reasons not to skip that biannual appointment.
1. Dentists check for gum disease
Besides looking over those pearly whites, your dentist will want to check out the health of the pink flesh that surrounds them. Gum health is crucial for maintaining the health of your teeth. Your dentist will see how easily your gums bleed during the cleaning. They will also use a probe to measure the space between your gums and your teeth, as wide spaces are a sign of gum disease. They observe the general color and appearance of your gums as well, and can note whether or not your gum line is receding. The sooner the dentist can catch it, the better. So, don't skip that checkup.
2. Dentists look for signs of oral cancer
Another big issue that dentists will look out for during your cleaning is oral cancer signs. Even if you haven't noticed anything like loose teeth, painful swallowing, or obvious sores that never go away, the dentist will search for signs that you might not see, such as white or red spots on the inside of your mouth or abnormal growths and lumps. The dentist will be trained to notice these things that you might overlook on your own. Like other cancers, oral cancer will be the most treatable when it's caught early, so don't cancel that checkup even if you aren't currently concerned about your teeth.
3. Dentists watch for teeth grinding/clenching
Cavities aren't the only problem that can affect your teeth. During your checkup, your dentist will also look for signs of teeth grinding (also known as bruxism) or clenching. You might not think that you grind your teeth, but you might be doing it as you sleep. Teeth grinding can cause a lot of issues as the tooth enamel wears down over time. If the grinding and clenching are intense enough, you can even crack a tooth. Bruxism can also cause damage to your jaw and cause headaches. It's worth making that checkup to ensure that this isn't a problem for you. The dentist can help you get fitted with a mouthguard or work to find another treatment to protect your teeth and jaw.
Just because you never get cavities doesn't mean you can't develop other serious problems in your mouth. Getting a biannual checkup with your dentist is the best way to catch diseases early enough to easily treat. Contact a dental clinic near you for more information on how the doctor will catch these and other problems.