Skip to main content

At Carolina Oaks Dental Care, we want you to have the healthiest and brightest smiles possible. One of the most important ways to accomplish this is routine dental exams. Your daily oral hygiene regimen is certainly critical to avoiding tooth decay, but six-month visits are equally important, and we’ll tell you why!

Call Carolina Oaks if you need a dentist in Travelers Rest, SC. Dr. Preston Hamrick provides gentle and thorough care for every member of your family. Contact our office online or at 864-836-8416 to make an appointment.

Aren’t brushing and flossing enough?

Your home care regimen of brushing and flossing will clean away most mouth bacteria, but it is incapable of removing all of it. What’s more, bacteria are tiny. Any small crevice in your molars or other spot that can’t be reached by toothbrush bristles can harbor enough plaque and bacteria to initiate the start of a cavity. If teeth were uniformly smooth and perfectly cylindrical, then perhaps we could reach all those spots ourselves—but they are not. Even the most diligent of us simply cannot remove all the plaque and bacteria from our teeth.

When any spot of plaque remains on a tooth, no matter how small, it can solidify into insoluble tartar (calculus). If this tartar does not get removed it will lead to enamel demineralization, and ultimately a cavity. That’s why most people will get at least one or two cavities in their lifetime. The microscopic nature of bacteria means that toothbrush bristles simply cannot reach every surface where bacteria hide.

How do dental exams prevent cavities?

At a dental checkup, dentists and hygienists are trained to recognize the spots where tartar has accumulated and remove it with dental tools. We can also treat soft spots to remineralize and protect the enamel, so a cavity does not form.

The other important thing we do is identify small cavities that have already formed. As a patient, you may be disappointed to hear about small cavities, but we are always happy when we can catch a cavity in its earliest stages. Without regular checkups, cavities can form and grow to the point where extensive restorations (deep fillings and root canals) are needed.

My Teeth Are Fine!

A lot of people mistakenly believe that as long as they don’t have any pain, everything must be fine with their oral health. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. We understand why this attitude persists; with our bodily health we rely on pain or dysfunction to let us know when something is wrong. We also tend to take a wait-and-see attitude to aches and pains. It doesn’t work that way with your teeth and gums, though.

Tooth enamel is actually the second-hardest naturally occurring substance in the world (diamonds are the first). To be this hard, and function so well for us, the only nerves in the teeth are found in the innermost chambers of the tooth. By the time decay reaches the nerves, the cavity is too large to enact a fast and easy correction. Wait-and-see never works in this case, either, as teeth cannot self-heal. That’s why you need dental exams to help you catch cavities and restore them before a toothache starts.

What else happens during a dental exam?

Checking your teeth for cavities is important, but there are a number of other important things that happen during a checkup!

Dental exams include:

  • dental cleaning;
  • cavity detection;
  • preventive treatments;
  • screening for symptoms of oral health conditions;
  • patient/provider information exchange; and
  • oral cancer screening.

You may not even notice these things happening, but each dental exam includes a patient interview and a visual inspection for signs of oral health problems other than cavities. Oral cancers, gum disease, bruxism, and TMJ disorder are all conditions that are more treatable when detected in their earliest stages.

We also like to learn about your overall health during a checkup, since so many medical conditions can affect your teeth and gums. For example, diabetes, pregnancy, and acid reflux can have a dramatic impact on your oral health. Sharing information makes it easier for us to work together to keep your smile healthy and beautiful.

Call Carolina Oaks if you need a dentist in Travelers Rest, SC. Dr. Preston Hamrick provides gentle and thorough care for every member of your family. Contact our office online or at 864-836-8416 to make an appointment.

Dr. Maxwell

Author Dr. Maxwell

More posts by Dr. Maxwell