The ABCs of Dental Care

In almost any field there are basics, the fundamental facts or principles from which other truths can be derived.

Without an understanding of these basics we lack the building blocks for greater knowledge or competence. For example, before we can write we learn our ABCs. Geometry first requires an understanding of arithmetic, and so on.

Lacking these basics, we can become lost in a sea of information, lacking the correct drops of water that hold the answers to our questions or allow us to be effective.

Know the basics of automotive care and you are likely to have a car that runs well and needs few repairs. Understand the basics of grammar and you can communicate.

What, then, are the basics of dental care?

While there are several key concepts which I cover in some of my earlier articles, there is one often overlooked principle I want to briefly cover herein.

Let’s first assume you are already in good dental health or, perhaps you weren’t, but now you got things under control. You are starting off with a “clean slate.” So, what do you do now?

The simple answer is taking a look at what got you there.

You spent months and maybe hundreds, even thousands, of dollars to handle dental problems that may not even have been causing you pain. Things feel good and you have gotten the clean bill of dental health from your doctor. What now? Continue to do what fixed the problem.

· Did you start brushing after meals? Good. Continue.

· Did you change your diet to reduce refined carbohydrates? Good. Continue.

· Do you floss every day? Good. Continue.

· Do you come back for your regular visits? No?! Why not?

If that was a successful part of the formula, don’t make the mistake I see so many people commit. There is probably many a dentist who will vouch for the fact that patients come in to them and say: “Yeah, I had a bunch of dental work done somewhere about fifteen years ago and it is starting to come apart.” When asked about the time of their last dental visit: “Oh, it was around then. Since my teeth were fine, it didn’t see the point of going in for a dental visit.”

Didn’t see – that’s a key point. There are many conditions that the patient neither sees nor feels. More importantly, dental health has a direct relationship to overall health. So the fact that one doesn’t feel gum disease, bone loss, dental cavities or oral cancer – especially in the early stages is a poor excuse not to see your dentist. Regular checkups are fundamental to defending yourself against serious problems. Caught early, your treatment can be approached conservatively, saving you time in the dental chair, the potential discomfort of extensive work and, of course, money.

Why is it that patients who visit the dentist regularly seem to need less dental work? I’d like to think it also has to do with their increased care and effort – but that effort includes keeping up with regular visits. These checkups can prevent small problems from turning into big ones and help to keep your existing work in good shape. Don’t be a penny wise and a pound foolish. See your dentist at least twice a year.