Regular dental checkups are an essential part of any prevention program. If you see your dentist regularly, any dental problems you have can be treated in their early stages. If you see a dentist only in an emergency, when you already have a serious problem, treatment may be much more costly. In the long run, nothing is more economical than the regular dental checkup.
Periodically, your dentist may ask you to have an X-ray examination. X-rays help your dentist find hidden conditions that can threaten your oral or general health. Treating these conditions at an early stage often prevents more serious damage and the need for more expensive treatment later.
The ADA recommends that dentists take X-rays only after consideration of their patients' individual needs. Your dentist should request that you have an X-ray examination only when it will benefit you.
You may have heard or read statements that question the safety of dental X-ray examinations. There is little reason for you to be concerned about safety when modern techniques and equipment are used. X-ray examinations are a necessary part of complete, comprehensive dental care.
Preventive techniques, such as topical fluoride applications and pit and fissure sealants have reduced many dental problems. But these techniques cannot save your teeth and reduce your dental costs unless you and your family share the responsibility for your own oral health. Brushing and flossing the teeth thoroughly at least once a day is necessary to remove plaque. Plaque is the thin film of bacteria that forms on everyone's teeth and causes dental caries (tooth decay) and periodontal (gum) disease. Using a fluoride mouth rinse and dentifrice (toothpaste or gel) accepted by the ADA's Council on Dental Therapeutics helps make teeth stronger and more resistant to decay. Eating nutritious meals and limiting the number of snacks you eat is also important for maintaining your oral health.
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