Having to visit the dentist every six months for a cleaning and dental checkup may not be the appointment that everyone looks forward to, but it is one of the most important ones to keep. If you have ever wondered what’s the point of having to see the dentist twice a year, or you’re thinking about skipping a dental checkup because of cost or another factor like time or dental anxiety, make sure to consider all the risks. What you might end up paying in the long run for not visiting your dentist will likely be much higher, both for your wallet and your peace of mind.

We asked our independent, local dentists who are Willow Creek Way certified why you should see your dentist regularly, here’s what they had to say:

Dr. Mary Blakeley from Willow Creek Dental: “In the six months between seeing your dentist, plaque, tartar and cavities can occur – even if you are diligent about brushing and flossing daily. There are small areas in the mouth that can be missed which can cause plague to build up and become more difficult to remove. Plague solidifies over time and turns into tartar, which is extremely difficult to get rid of without seeing a dentist. Regular dental cleansing will help prevent tartar from eroding teeth or creating holes in them, which is how cavities are created. It’s much less expensive to get regular cleanings than it is to get major procedures, such as crowns and root canals.”

Dr. Jay Heim from Heim Dental: “Gum disease can occur when plaque and tartar builds up, which can cause tooth decay, but it can also erode the mouth’s gum tissues. When tartar build up it can cause an infection where the gum connects to the tooth, making the gum pull away from the tooth. This type of infection is known as gingivitis. Going to the dentist on a regular basis will help reduce plaque and tartar and decrease opportunities for gum disease”

Dr. Sarah Meyer from Meyer Dental: “We see things in your mouth that could be impacting your overall health. For instance, by looking at a patient’s tongue and gums, we may be able to tell if they are lacking certain vitamins and nutrients. One thing we look for is pale tongue, which may indicate an iron deficiency. Seeing your dentist regularly will make a positive impact to your overall health.”

Dr. Mary Blakeley: “Your dental exam and cleaning does check your mouth, teeth and gums, but we are also checking your tongue for signs of oral cancer, your neck, jaw and lymph nodes located just below your jawline for any swelling, lumps or other abnormalities. Having a regular dental checkup will provide neck and thyroid glands check that will alert you sooner, rather than later, to any major health issues that you may have.”

Dr. Sarah Meyer: “There is a relationship between oral health and overall health. Going to the dentist every six months will not only keep your mouth, teeth and gums in check, it will also check some non-tooth related conditions that may be spotted or even prevented by your dentist that will go undiagnosed if you skip your next appointment.”

If you haven’t been to the dentist lately, or you’re new to the Denver market and are seeking a dentist, you should check out the independent, local dentists that have adopted the Willow Creek Way. These dentists are reinventing the patient-dentist experience one patient at a time. Find a dental office near you.