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What Is a Dental Recall Exam?

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Patient on a dental chair checking her teeth in a mirror after cleaning done by a dentist

Dental exams and professional cleanings are integral to your oral hygiene. They don’t replace regular brushing and flossing, but they shouldn’t be neglected, either. When planning your visit to the dentist, the type of exam you’re getting determines how much time you should expect it to take.

Today, we’re discussing a dental recall exam, the most common type of exam you’ll get. It’s worth mentioning that there are other reasons for dental appointments, such as cosmetic or dental surgery and a comprehensive or initial exam and cleaning.

What Is a Dental Recall Exam?

According to the Canadian Dental Association, a person should get at least 2 dental exams annually. The first appointment will likely be a comprehensive exam if you see a new dentist. These are typically much more in-depth and include things like X-rays and family and medical history.

A dental recall exam is considered the routine exam and cleaning that happens going forward after the initial exam. While they don’t always include the extras like X-rays, if the dentist finds any potential issues, they may take X-rays to take a closer look at your teeth.

The primary purpose of a recall exam is to address ongoing oral health issues, such as painful teeth or cavities, and clean your teeth. By attending your recommended exam schedule, your dentist has a chance to detect some of these potential problems before they require any major corrections.

Reasons to Maintain Your Oral Health

We only have one set of teeth, so practicing good oral hygiene is important. But there are some specific reasons that keeping your mouth clean is essential.

Improve Overall Health

It’s easy to see how the mouth may be the gateway of the entire body. So, how you take care of it can also affect your overall health. For example, a Harvard study found that those with periodontal disease (or simply, gum disease) have an increased risk of having heart-related problems, such as heart attack or stroke.

If the mouth isn’t cleaned properly, bacteria can cause other issues for your health, including:

  • Bacterial pneumonia
  • Endocarditis
  • Complications during pregnancy

Prevent Tooth Loss

The CDC has plenty of information on tooth decay and cavity statistics. For example, 90% of people 20 years and older have had at least one cavity, and 25% of adults currently have at least one.

The problem with tooth decay and cavities is that, if left untreated, they will ultimately result in a root canal or tooth extraction. Prompt treatment is critical, but the best treatment is always prevention.

Brushing with fluoride toothpaste at least twice daily and flossing at least once are 2 ways to ensure your mouth stays clean and healthy.

Boost Self Confidence & Self Esteem

A female patient with painful teeth visits her dentist in a dental emergency.

The health benefits of oral hygiene aren’t the only reason we should take proper care of our teeth. Taking care of your teeth can help maintain the appearance of your teeth, preserving your confidence, and keeping you smiling.

Taking Care of Your Teeth Between Dentist Visits

Proper brushing and flossing are the 2 main things that most people focus on when discussing oral hygiene. And while these 2 things are vital to a healthy mouth, they aren’t the only 2 contributing to that health.

Ways that you can take care of your teeth and mouth between dentist visits include:

  • Brush with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice daily to prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar on your teeth. (Don’t forget to brush your tongue too!)
  • Floss regularly—at least once daily, preferably after every meal.
  • If you smoke, quit—your entire body and overall health will thank you.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Avoid excessive sugary or acidic food and drink.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Use mouthwash as recommended by your dentist.

Other Reasons to Visit Your Dentist

A dental recall may be the most common reason to visit the dentist. But there are definitely other reasons you may need to make an appointment.

Some other common reasons include:

  • Comprehensive or new patient exams: A new client exam includes a much more in-depth look at your overall oral health and history.
  • Dental emergencies: Sometimes, an appointment can’t wait until the 6-month mark. Many dentists offer emergency dental appointments to fix damaged teeth or oral injuries.
  • Cosmetic dentistry: Maybe your teeth aren’t as straight as you’d like. Or maybe you’ve been drinking coffee or tea for too long, and your teeth are stained. A cosmetic service such as professional teeth whitening may be beneficial.

Book Your Next Dental Recall Exam

It’s important to remember that good oral hygiene isn’t separate from getting regular exams and cleanings; they are very much connected, but those 2 dentist visits a year are still crucial.

When it’s time for your next dental exam, contact Shawnessy Dental Centre to book an appointment. Our helpful team is happy to answer your questions and book you in at a time that’s convenient for you.

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