Why Going to the Dentist Is Important for the Whole Family


UPDATED 11/11/20

Proper dental care is vital for any American, young or old, and it is essential that you take your entire family’s dental needs seriously. Fortunately, you are in good hands, and the American dental industry is a robust one that employs many highly motivated dentists and dental assistants. Most Americans know why going to the dentist is important, and as a result, they are frequently visiting their local dental practices for teeth whitening, X-rays, and much more. In 2017, for a recent example, around 127.6 million American adults visited a dentist, and that should include you, too. Be sure your children also learn why going to the dentist is important, and reinforce good dental health habits that they can maintain long into their adulthood. So, why going to the dentist is important, in terms of health, comfort, and cosmetics? There is much more to dental health than just a toothbrush, though that is a good start.

Keeping Teeth Clean

If you are not entirely sure why going to the dentist is important, you can at least start with proper teeth cleaning at home, and make sure your children are taking part in this, too. That can keep all of your teeth (and your gums) in good shape until you can consult a dentist and learn more about why going to the dentist is important for Americans of all ages. Keeping your teeth clean at home is quite easy, though it requires good habits and diligence, and clean teeth are not something to take for granted. If your teeth have leftover food and sugars on them for too long, then harmful bacteria start feeding on those sugar and food, and they multiply fast. All of these bacteria will secrete a layer of plaque that will continue to build up on your teeth, and while plaque is invisible at first, it can eventually harden into colored, hard layers of tartar.

Constant plaque buildup is sure to lead to discolored teeth and tartar, and once you reach this point, it is difficult to go back, which is why going to the dentist is important before things get that bad. Routine tooth brushing is enough to remove these harmful bacteria and all the plaque that they put on your teeth, so long as you do this after every meal and scrub all surfaces of all teeth in your mouth. This doesn’t have to take a long time, but being thorough is key, and you should also gently scrub your teeth on your gums and tongue as well (some people neglect to do this). Oral health isn’t just about the teeth; it is about everything in your mouth. Performing teeth cleaning two to three times per day goes a long way toward preventing tooth discoloration or cavities, though you should still remember why going to the dentist is important. After all, other things might go wrong, and they will be discussed here soon.

Building Trust

Even if you know why going to the dentist is important, you should make sure that you are entrusting your dental health (and that of your entire family) to the right people. If you do not already have a dentist or family dentistry office to visit, such as if you just moved to a new city or town, it is time to begin searching right away. If you do not have reliable personal references to use, then look online to find all dental practices in your area, and a specific online search is best. Use the name of your city/town, your ZIP code, and a phrase such as “best family dentists” or “highly rated dental offices near me”. Once you find a list of results, note the best ones and make a short list of candidate dental offices to visit. Naturally, you should also make sure that these dental offices accept your current or planned dental insurance policy.

Now, you should visit each of those promising dental offices one by one in person, and get a fair impression of what each one is like. Consult the dentists and dental assistants working at a given office, and see what sort of dental services they offer. Feel free to also review the credentials of each dentist and dental assistant there, such ads work history, awards or recognition, educational background, and more. If you are looking for a pediatric dentist’s office or a family dentist, be sure to bring along your child too, so he or she can also get a fair impression (and you can double-check if your child feels comfortable there). The ideal dentist will be well qualified, charge fair fees, and accept your health insurance policy for dental procedures.

Fixing Cosmetic Issues

When it comes to why going to the dentist is important, be aware that the appearance of your teeth is nearly as important as the health of your teeth (and these to things are often connected). Typically, unhealthy teeth look bad due to their color, shape, or absence, and this can make a poor impression on other people. Most adults care a great deal with their teeth look like, and they know that ugly or missing teeth can hamper their social skills for job interviews, being on TV (such as news announcers), dating, and more. Many surveyed Americans agree that having bad teeth is embarrassing, and they go to various lengths to hide their unattractive teeth. It is no coincidence that nearly all models and TV stars have white, straight teeth.

You don’t have to have movie star teeth, but then again, be sure to check your teeth in the mirror and keep track of any developing issues. Sometimes, teeth grow in crooked, or a wisdom tooth might cause crowding. Issues like these and more call for a dentist’s help, and under-bites or overbites call for an orthodontist’s help.

If your teeth are like this, you will certainly appreciate why going to the dentist is important, and in particular, you will want to visit a cosmetic dentist. Such dentists are not necessarily filling cavities or pulling rotted teeth, but they can help restore the white color of your teeth or help straighten them out. Cosmetic dentistry often means using plastic retainers to straighten out crooked teeth, and this is rather common. Fortunately, the use of plastic retainers is not conspicuous, since such retainers are made of clear plastic and are not easily noticed by other people. Instead, such retainers will be molded to fit your mouth, and once put in, they help align your teeth the way you want them to be.

What if a tooth is missing entirely? Cosmetic dentistry can take care of that, too, and not always through the use of dentures (more on that later). Dentures replace all the teeth in your mouth, while a dental bridge can replace just one. If you have a missing tooth, it will not grow back, but a realistic replica can be fitted into the gap to restore your full mouth of teeth. First, your dentist will make a mold of your existing teeth for reference, and while the dental bridge is being made, a temporary false tooth can be fitted into your tooth gap. Later, when the bridge is ready, it will be secured into your tooth gap via covers that slip over the real teeth flanking the gap. This restores your smile and makes eating and speech easier, all while being discreet.

Finally, don’t forget that cosmetic dentistry can also include dental implants, such as false crowns that can fit over a tooth that is cracked or worn down. Doing this can restore the shape and function of the tooth, such as for chewing and speech, and the crown protects the real tooth from more physical distress.

Expert Eyes

Another reason why going to the dentist is important is regular exams and checkups, both for you and your children. Even if you are not suffering from a toothache or discolored teeth, it is a good idea to have your teeth checked out once or twice a year on a schedule. A dentist can perform routine cleanings and look over your teeth in person and take X-rays of your teeth as well to get a complete look at your teeth (including their roots). This way, any developing problems can be diagnosed early, and thus taken care of before they become any worse. This is a matter of preventive dental care, and doing so can potentially spare you a lot of expense and hassle later on. If a cavity is forming or a wisdom tooth is about to emerge, X-rays and other exams can spot the problem early and give your dentist more options for taking care of that problem. Your children should also get routine exams, even if none of their adult teeth have grown in yet.

Whitening Procedures

This is a fairly straightforward idea. As mentioned earlier, tartar and plaque buildup can discolor and stain your teeth, and the same is true if you use tobacco products (cigarettes, chew, etc), and you don’t want discolored teeth for long. So, ask your dentist about tooth-whitening gels that can help remove the staining effects of tartar or tobacco, and if that does not work, you can have porcelain veneers fitted over your teeth to restore their color. Such veneers will probably be molded to fit your current teeth, so they do not disrupt your chewing or speech with odd shapes. This is another branch of cosmetic dentistry, to compliment the idea of teeth being physically restored. When it comes to dental cosmetics, both shape and appearance count for a lot, and teeth whitening should always be taken seriously.

Cancer Screenings

Cancer can happen nearly anywhere in the human body, even in the bones or reproductive organs, and this includes your very mouth. What are the odds? This will vary, but you can consult your dentist about it, and most likely, the odds of you getting mouth or gum cancer is higher if you smoke tobacco products. If you are indeed a smoker (or even if you are not), it is a good idea to visit the dentist for oral cancer screening, possibly more than once. This is another dental health issue that is best off diagnosed early, so you have maximum options for dealing with it.

Crafting Dentures

This is another branch of cosmetic dentistry, and most often, it is the elderly who have need or dentures. Dentures are designed to replace entire rows of teeth at a time or even the entire mouth’s worth, and if you need them, your dentist can get to work having them crafted elsewhere. Dentures also come with artificial gums that hold all the teeth together (molded to fit your mouth), and all this can easily fit into your mouth. Unlike some other dental implants, dentures can be taken back out of your mouth at will, and some people are known to remove their dentures when they go to sleep, then put them back into their mouth later.

Filling Cavities

Unfortunately, many people, including children under the age of 10, end up getting cavities in one or more teeth. The good news is that spotting cavities is a common reason why going to the dentist is important, and your dentist should be ready to spot cavities as soon as they appear. If you do go into the dentist’s office for cavity treatments, you should expect your dentist to take X-rays of your teeth first. Then, your dentist will numb the gum and teeth in the affected area, then drill into the affected tooth to remove all decaying materials. A filling will be put in, and this process should be both quick and painless for you. Often, it only takes a few moments to complete, though your teeth will likely be numb for a few more hours after this procedure. Options include amalgam fillings, composite fillings, metals, ceramic, and more.

Root Canal Care

Many people are afraid of the idea of root canals, but this process is not painful or terrifying. In fact, it does not even remove a tooth from your mouth. Instead, root canal treatment means numbing the affected tooth, then drilling into it and extracting the infected fleshy pulp inside it to eliminate a tooth infection. This procedure leaves the affected tooth in your mouth, though it will now be hollow and thus slightly more fragile, and it will no longer feel heat or cold. This is a good way to fix an infected tooth before the infection becomes so bad tooth removal is necessary.

As a whole, knowing why going to the dentist is important can keep your teeth looking and functioning their best, and this will minimize the risks of infections or unattractive teeth in your mouth. Visiting the dentist regularly allows you to catch a problem early, and your dentist can do anything from restoring a tooth’s white color to filling in a cavity or filling in a tooth gap. Modern dentistry care is often considered highly advanced, especially compared to how it was done in centuries past. Be sure to take advantage of that when necessary.

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