Recall, Recare or Continuing Care, We all need it!
“Why do I have to come every 6 months when the hygienist tells me I am doing an excellent job with home care?”
Studies show that many people do not have to have their teeth cleaned every six months. This represents about 1 to 2% of the population because this is conditioned on meticulous home care that includes proper use of an electric toothbrush, or electric flosser, daily manual flossing, use of pics and other recommendations by their dental hygienist.
Use of alcohol, smoking, and drugs with side effects like dry mouth directly affect the time recommended between professional dental cleanings and evaluations. Smoking is bad for tissues and stains the teeth so smokers often are motivated by the stains.
Neglect of the teeth can result in the following within a relatively brief time:
- Losing teeth
- Skipping a visit to the dentist can easily lead to the loss of teeth. Studies show that decay leading to an active carious lesion can happen in a period of 6 months. Hence, the recommendation to visit the dentist every 6 months is to catch tooth decay early.
- Gum disease and bleeding gums
The symptoms aren’t always noticeable at first yet periodontal disease can lead to painful inflammation and loss of teeth. Gum disease under the right conditions can develop in a week. Untreated, it can progress rapidly and doesn’t follow any timeline.
- Stained teeth and bad breath
- Regularly smoking, chewing tobacco, and drinking staining beverages like red wine or coffee causes tooth discoloration. The build-up of stain, bio-film, and debris leads to bad breath and no one wants that.
- Detecting oral cancers
The human papilloma virus (HPV), which is sexually transmitted, has also been associated with throat cancers at the back of the mouth. HPV-positive head and neck cancers are related to the rise in throat cancers in non-smoking adults. HPV-positive head and neck cancers typically develop in the throat at the base of the tongue and in the folds of the tonsils making them difficult to detect. Although people with HPV-positive cancers have a lower risk of dying or having a recurrence than those with HPV-negative cancers, early diagnosis is associated with the best outcomes.
Regular dental checkups that include an examination of the entire head and neck can be vital in detecting cancer early.
Early detection may result in better treatment outcomes and may help keep you or someone you love from becoming one of the 10,030 people whose lives may be claimed this year by the disease. The 5-year survival rate of those diagnosed is approximately 60 percent.
Between 2007 and 2011, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the incidence or number of new oropharyngeal cancer cases increased in white males, held steady in white females and decreased in black males and females. The ACS reports the increase in incidence in white males is due to an increase in cancers of the base of the tongue and tonsils associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) infections.
A complete head and neck and intraoral examination are not only important for the early detection of cancer but also for accomplishing a comprehensive assessment of the patient prior to providing dental treatment. https://www.dentalcare.com
Oral cancer screening devices should be part of routine dental evaluations:
ViziLite® Plus with TBlue® (Zila tolonium chloride) is an oral cancer screening system that was developed to help oral healthcare professionals identify, evaluate, monitor and mark abnormal oral lesions suspicious for pathology including precancerous cells and cancer that may be difficult to see during a regular visual exam.
*Because the changes in the profile of the typical oral cancer patient have shifted from the long-time smoker or tobacco user to the younger 50 and under crowd that may have cancer from the HPV16 virus, it is imperative that dentists as healthcare providers shift their thinking of the routine dental visit.
Remove the perception of “routine” and “just a cleaning” from the thought processes of the dental team. Educate the team to realize the changing role of the vital dental evaluation and professional teeth cleaning for total health and wellbeing of the patients.
Dental Billing Tips and News for Pros; Edition #133