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Visiting the Dentist – Dental Checkups

written by Dr Joshua Chong

May 18, 2020

At NoFrills dental, we suggest regular 6 monthly dental checkups for our patients. This is to ensure we can detect any issues before they become too severe or irreversible.

Here are 3 reasons to visit your dentist regularly.

Caries & Cavities

As of 25th March 2020, World Health Organisation reports that nearly 3.5 billion people are affected by oral diseases and the most common of which is tooth decay (in permanent or adult teeth).

What Are Cavities and Caries? 

Cavities all begin with plaque. It is a community of bacteria that will convert the sugar that we eat into acid. This acid then dissolves our tooth structure away creating a hole or what we call a cavity. Our teeth do not have the capability to heal itself, so once there is a cavity it will get bigger and deeper. The deeper it gets, the closer it gets to the nerve, causing more sensitivity and pain as it progresses. Once it reaches the nerve – this is when a really bad toothache begins and when we have to consider more complex treatment like root canal or extraction.

During a dental checkup, your dentist will check your teeth and may request an x-ray to assess for any cavities. Remember, small cavities may not cause any pain or sensitivity but the sooner they are detected the earlier we can treat them. This is beneficial as it would mean simpler treatment i.e. a filling instead of root canal treatment.

Overall Gum Health

Notice in the diagram below the main difference between gingivitis and periodontitis – the loss of bone or bone destruction

What About Gum Health? 

Your gum health is another important aspect that we check. Most people would say they brush twice a day, but what your dentist will assess is whether you are brushing and flossing correctly. Once again, plaque is the main culprit in causing gingivitis. Leaving plaque along your gum line irritates your gums causing it to become inflamed, this will result in symptoms such as – bleeding gums, recently sensitive teeth, swollen gums, discomfort of the gums when brushing, bad breath.

The good news is, gingivitis (inflamed gums) if dealt with quickly, will not result in any long term damage or in other words is reversible. In most cases, a professional clean at the dentist will help to remove any plaque and tartar (calculus) that has formed on the teeth. 

If this plaque and tartar is not removed, and is left to irritate the gums, eventually your gum disease will progress into a more severe form known as periodontitis. Periodontitis is irreversible. This disease will lead to bone loss of your jaw, and if sufficient bone is lost, teeth will become shaky. The World Health Organisation estimates approximately 10% of the population suffer from a form of severe periodontitis.

During dental checkups, our dentists will thoroughly analyse your current oral health and ensure any potential gum issues are addressed. Through scaling & polishing, our dentists will be able to remove dental plaque and tartar that have formed on teeth before these issues escalate into severe gum problems.

Oral Pathology

Lastly, during your dental checkups, we will screen for any oral pathology. We will have a look at your lips, cheeks, tongue, gums and palate, to make sure everything looks healthy. If we suspect otherwise, we can help to make a referral to the appropriate specialist for further consultation. Additionally, we will check your existing fillings, crowns, bridges, implants to ensure that they are stable. 

The aim of regular dental checkups is to detect any potential issues early and solve them to the best of the dentist’s ability. This is to avoid having cavities or gum problems progress unnecessarily. In the meantime, between your check ups it is crucial to maintain good oral hygiene. Your dentist will highlight any areas where you may need to focus your brushing on and remind (or nag) you to floss regularly! Remember, eliminating plaque will help reduce the risk of cavities forming and gum disease developing.

References

  1. United Nations General Assembly. Political Declaration of the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases. Resolution A/66/L1. 2011 – https://www.who.int/nmh/events/un_ncd_summit2011/political_declaration_en.pdf
  2. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 354 diseases and injuries for 195 countries and territories, 1990–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. Lancet 2018; 392: 1789–8583 – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30496104

Dr. Joshua Chong is a medical director and senior dentist at NoFrills Dental. He graduated from the University of Queensland with Honours in 2014. Following a year of private practice in Australia, he moved to Singapore and continued to work in the private sector.

Dr. Joshua Chong understands that visiting the dentist can be very daunting for some. He aims to provide a calm environment and practice pain-free dentistry, taking the time to ensure that patients are comfortable and well informed throughout their visit.

Dr. Joshua Chong believes in minimally invasive approach and preventive dentistry. He currently provides a range of dental procedures and particularly takes an interest in restorative dentistry and root canal treatment.

Book an appointment with Dr Joshua Chong!

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At NoFrills Dental, we take great pride in delivering a holistic high quality dental experience through our professional excellence.

We believe in accessible & affordable dental care for all.

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NoFrills Dental @ Suntec City

3 Temasek Boulevard, #03-317
Suntec City North Wing, Between Tower 1 & 2, Lobby H, 
Singapore 038983
Tel: 6337 7319

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6 Raffles Blvd, #B1-11
Marina Square
(Exit B, Esplanade MRT Station)
Singapore 039594

Tel: 6227 8885

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