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Why are dental check ups so important?

  • Many adults in the UK will wait until they have identified a problem before visiting the dentist, but the importance of regular check ups should not be underestimated.

    By Ben Lees

Most people live very busy lives and time is precious, however many of us are ignoring the health of our mouths. This is easy to do when comparing it to overall body health, explaining why more than a quarter of adults only visit the dentist when they have identified a problem, and, according to research by NHS digital, more than half of UK adults have not visited a dentist at all in the last two years.

However, this tendency to wait for a problem to arise before seeking dental advice is causing significant problems for much of the population. Leaving problems untreated can make them more difficult to treat in the future.

Attending routine dental check ups offers many benefits in terms of both your health and the appearance of your teeth, as your dentist will often be able to detect a potential problem before you are even aware of it. Some of these benefits include:

  • Prevention of gum disease – the build up of plaque can result in gum (periodontal) disease. Plaque also contains bacteria which can cause inflammation and irritate gums;
  • Improving your general health – it is understood that having poor oral hygiene is a risk factor to other diseases, such as heart disease and type two diabetes;
  • Enjoying a whiter, brighter smile – having your teeth cleaned and attending regular check ups helps remove stains caused by coffee, tea, wine, tobacco and other products. Some medications also cause teeth to become discoloured;
  • Preventing bad breath – bad breath can be caused by gum disease, food being lodged in hard-to-reach areas or poor oral hygiene. Regular teeth cleaning and dental check ups are the most effect way to ensure that you enjoy good oral hygiene;
  • Keeping your teeth – poor oral hygiene can result in advanced gum disease, which can lead to supporting bone being destroyed as plaque moved further into the roots of the teeth.

In general, the lower your risk of dental problems, the longer you can wait between check-ups. According to NHS advice, people with good oral health will probably need to attend the dentist every 12-24 months, but those with more problems will need more regular check-ups. Your dentist should assess your individual circumstances and recommend a date for your next visit when performing a check up.

At each check-up, your dentist should:

  • Examine your teeth, gums and mouth;
  • Ask about your general health and any problems you may have had with your teeth, mouth or gums since your last visit;
  • Ask about, and give you advice on, your diet, smoking and alcohol use;
  • Ask about your teeth-cleaning habits and give you advice on the most appropriate ways to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy;
  • Discuss a date for your next visit.

When attending regular check ups it is likely that issues will be recognised by your dental practitioner in good time. However, if left untreated some conditions can cause significant damage to your oral health, and can lead to the need for costly and extensive remedial treatment.

If you are not satisfied with your dental care/treatment or believe that the treatment you received was negligent, we would recommend you contact a solicitor who can advise on your merits of bringing a claim in negligence against the dental practitioner.

Making a claim is a simple process if you choose to instruct the Dental Negligence Team. Whatever the nature of your injury, if it may have been caused by sub-standard dental care, we can help.

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Call 0800 051 8069

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