Show Your Smile Some Love

Show Your Smile Some Love

Just as you take time each year to schedule annual exams for your body’s wellness, such as heart health and cholesterol levels, your oral health should receive the same attention. Making sure that you schedule an appointment for preventive dentistry in South Hadley, MA, about the same time each year is a great way to show your smile some love.

Why Preventive Dentistry Matters

Preventive dentistry is an arm of general dentistry that includes comprehensive oral exams, teeth cleaning, and oral cancer screening. Like an annual check-up by your general physician for your heart’s health, our dentist will examine your mouth and gums for signs of disease that could impact your future health.

For example, plaque and tartar build-up around your teeth and gums can lead to cavities, tooth loss, gum disease, and even life-threatening conditions such as heart disease. And even though gum disease is quite common in the United States (with more than 200,000 cases being diagnosed each year), it can be prevented through semi-annual dental exams and professional cleanings.

One of the first signs of early periodontal disease is bleeding gums. If your gums bleed when you brush and floss, it should not be ignored or shrugged off as anything less than a signal from your body that it’s time to visit your dentist.

Additionally, during these visits, patients often learn that there are better techniques that can be used at home for optimum oral health, such as best brushing and flossing techniques for hard-to-reach teeth. Dentists can also identify early signs of gum disease and make recommendations for at-home treatment with over-the-counter products to delay or negate the need for gum surgery if the condition remains untreated. This advice is similar to your general practitioner, letting you know that your cholesterol levels or blood pressure need additional attention.

Oral Cancer Screening

You may not hear about oral cancer as frequently as you do other forms of cancer, but that doesn’t make the need for its screening any less critical. Some interesting facts about oral cancer include:

  • Smoking and alcohol use can increase the likelihood of developing oral cancer by as much as 100 percent
  • Sun exposure, genetics, exposure to the HPV-16 virus, and being over 40 years of age are all contributing factors
  • There has been a 33 percent increase in oral cancer in women over the past ten years
  • There has been a 32 percent increase in oral cancer in men over the past ten years

Like other cancer forms, patients may not notice any symptoms at home until the condition is advanced. That’s why making time for a comprehensive oral exam, which includes an oral cancer screening, is as essential as other whole-body care.

You may, however, notice some symptoms at home, such as:

  • A sore throat that doesn’t clear up
  • Numbness or swelling in your jaw area
  • Chronic hoarseness
  • Rough spots on your gums or inner cheeks

Some of these symptoms run parallel with other conditions, so they must be examined as early as possible.

Our dentist uses VELscope® oral cancer screening to detect abnormal or potentially cancerous areas in your oral cavity painlessly. VELscope is the only FDA-approved advanced screening for oral cancer, and it does not contain radiation or have any known side-effects.

There is no separate oral cancer screening cost since it’s included in our dentist’s comprehensive dental exams. If oral cancer is detected, our dental care team will coordinate additional testing and treatment costs.

Multi-Specialty Care is Important Care

When choosing a dentist, it’s essential to choose one experienced in all phases of dental care, such as general, cosmetic, and preventive dentistry. For example, if you select a dentist specializing only in cosmetic dentistry, other conditions that a general or preventive dentist can treat may go undetected.

Dental well-being is more than having a perfect smile. It includes an array of general and cosmetic treatments to help protect, restore, and enhance your smile’s health. At South Hadley Dental Group, our dentist is committed to the connection of oral and overall health, so patients know their smiles are receiving the love they deserve.

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