Dental exams & Cleaning
Why Dental Cleaning and Dental Exams Are a Good Investment
Even for diligent brushers and flossers, regular dental cleanings and dental exams play a key role in preventing diseases such as tooth decay, gingivitis, and periodontal disease. Oral cancer screening is also a very important part of your dental exam.
What Happens at a Dental Exam?
The dental exam represents an opportunity to get a set of professional eyes on your overall oral health. The dentist will assess your condition and recommend treatments while taking into account any other medical or dental conditions you may have.
But if you want to maximize how much your dentist can help you during your cleaning and exam, it’s important, to be honest. This not only applies to confessing to your flossing habits but also discussing any pain you may be experiencing with your teeth or gums. Your dentist will work to resolve any dental problems but they need as much information from you as possible to determine what the problem is.
Your dentist will also use specialized tools and equipment to help with the exam. Many dentists use X-rays to help examine the internal structure of your teeth.
Why Do You Need X-Rays at the Dentist?
No human, not even a dentist, can see through your skin to examine your teeth and bones. The X-ray lets your dentist get an accurate and comprehensive view of the internal structure of your mouth. Many potentially serious conditions are detected with X-rays, including:
- Impacted wisdom teeth
- Decayed teeth
- Defective fillings
- Bone loss
An X-ray aims to rule out the possibility of any serious conditions that a visual intraoral exam will not identify. Remember that tooth or gum pain can point to early symptoms of something more sinister.
What to Expect in a Dental Cleaning
Your dentist or hygienist will use a wide array of instruments to rid your mouth of harmful germs and build-up.
To begin, your dentist or hygienist will perform tooth scaling. This step involves specialized instruments (scalers) used to scrape away plaque, tartar (calculus), and other hard substances stuck to your teeth above and below your gum line. Tooth scaling is important because toothbrushes and floss can not remove hard tartar and scalers can reach areas where the toothbrush and floss can’t.
Sometimes a more powerful instrument called an ultrasonic scaler is used if the tartar on your teeth is especially heavy or difficult to remove. This instrument sprays lots of water while it quickly removes thick, heavy calculus.
Teeth polishing, the last step of the cleaning appointment, leaves your teeth feeling smooth, looking beautiful, and your mouth feeling refreshed. Your dentist will follow up with advice on keeping your smile healthy until your next cleaning and exam. The interval at which the dentist and hygienist recommend you return for your recare appointment is custom-tailored to your individual needs- typically in 3,4 or 6 months.