Only about 50% of adults say that they visit their dentist every six months as recommended, which can lead to a range of dental problems down the road. Even so, regular cleanings are likely still among the most common oral health services administered by dentists throughout the world, as well as one of the best and most important ways to prevent more serious oral health problems from developing. Here's a list of the most common issues dentists have to treat in their patients, beyond regular cleanings:
The World Health Organization estimates that close to 100% of the global adult population has one or more cavities -- but not everyone has access to oral health services to get them filled. Untreated cavities can cause discomfort, pain, and even more dental problems without proper care.
- Gum Disease
Mild forms of gum disease can often be reversed with proper hygiene and care, but more severe forms can lead to periodontitis, which affects 20% of adults aged 35 to 44. Left untreated, gingivitis can cause pain and swelling in the gums as well as permanent tooth damage.
- Tooth Loss
Both cavities and gum disease can lead to severe tooth decay and tooth loss without proper oral health services. It's not uncommon for older people to lose all of their natural teeth, even in societies with advanced dental care practices such as the United States. However, dental implants are fast becoming an effective alternative to dentures for people missing either a single tooth or a whole set of teeth.
- Oral Cancer
Tobacco use and alcohol are thought to be the driving factors in oral cancer. Approximately 48,250 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer every year, and another 9,575 will die from the disease. While the early symptoms of oral cancer often go unnoticed by the individuals who have them, a close inspection from your family dentist can help detect the signs before they become untreatable.
Going to the dentist shouldn't always result in bad news, however. With regular cleanings, check-ups, and oral health services, you can help keep your teeth healthy and bright for years to come. Protect your mouth, and you'll give both you and your dentist something to smile about.