At ImmediaDent, we recommend that everyone have their teeth cleaned and examined at least once every six months. Yes, we mean everyone. No matter how well you care for your dental health, periodic dental exams are very important. Think of them as the dental equivalent of a routine check-up with your doctor.
Your dentist’s overarching goal during dental examinations is to set you on the right course toward great dental health. Everything we do during our examinations contributes toward that goal. You’d be surprised just how much we can get done in a relatively short period of time, too! During a routine dental examination, your dentist will…
A routine dental check-up involves a thorough re-assessment of your mouth. Your dentist will use a small mirror to carefully inspect your teeth and gums, noting any signs of gingivitis of the gums or decay on the teeth. Your dentist will also feel around your jawline, neck, lips, cheeks, or tongue for signs of cancer. If they spot anything, like bleeding gums or possible cavities, they’ll tell you about it and what needs to be done to fix it.
Around once a year or so, your dentist may recommend x-rays of your teeth. X-rays allow your dentist and hygienist to examine the health of your jaw, teeth, and gums in more detail. They’ll also help dentists identify potential problems earlier and more accurately, especially if they can compare them to earlier dental x-rays. Identifying potential problems early is the most important function of regular dental check-ups. No matter what might be wrong, the faster we find it, the faster we can fix it.
Clean Your Teeth
After the dentist completes the examination portion of the check-up, your hygienist will thoroughly clean your teeth. Using a small mirror and metal instruments called “scalers,” they remove plaque and tartar from your mouth. The scalers allow the hygienist to effectively clean difficult-to-reach places. They can also remove tartar, which is hardened plaque that conventional toothbrushes can no longer clean away. If plaque in your mouth hardens into tartar, the only way to remove it is a professional dental cleaning.
Removing plaque and tartar has several obvious benefits. First, plaque and tartar can trigger cavities, gum disease, and a whole host of other mouth problems. The sooner and more frequently you clean away these materials, the lower your risk of developing these problems. Removing tartar often stops developing gum problems like gingivitis before it even has a chance to develop. If you already have gingivitis or another minor gum or tooth disease, a cleaning will help it heal more quickly and effectively.
Polish Your Teeth
After they finish scaling your teeth to remove tartar, hygienists polish your teeth. Polishing your teeth cleans away any remaining tartar and also removes surface stains. It makes your teeth look cleaner, brighter, and healthier. There are two different ways hygienists can polish teeth. They will either apply a polishing paste, or they’ll utilize the air polishing method.
The polishing paste they use is called “prophylaxis paste.” Prophylaxis paste comes in a variety of flavors and textures, from fine to coarse. The paste works by smoothing the surface of the tooth, removing plaque, biofilm, stains, and pellicle in the process. It’s applied via a small, rotating plastic cup. Air polishing accomplishes the same thing but works slightly differently. Air polishing delivers a combination of water, air, and sodium bicarbonate directly to the teeth using a specialized device. Polishing isn’t just great for how your teeth look, it’s an important way to keep them healthy, too.
Plan a Healthy Future
Believe it or not, this is the most important reason you should go to regular dental check-ups. While your dentist and hygienist complete their steps in the exam and cleaning processes, they obviously look over your mouth thoroughly. This in-depth examination gives them a good sense of what you’re doing right and wrong with your dental health. From there, they’ll be able to offer professional advice on what you could do to improve.
Along with the advice, dentists also give you the tools and knowledge you need to keep your mouth healthy. During your exam, they’ll help you figure out what could be causing possible mouth problems. They’ll recommend changes to your diet, lifestyle, or dental routine to help you solve those problems. Finally, they can even supply you with dentist-approved toothpaste, brushes, and floss. Think of your dentist as your dental health coach, and regular exams as your strategy sessions. With your dentist’s help, you’ll come up with a game plan for long-term dental health.
Dental examinations are a lot like washing your hands. Just as you wash your hands to avoid getting sick, you have your teeth cleaned to avoid dental problems. Washing your hands is less time-consuming and expensive than getting sick, and so are dental check-ups. Your regular check-up will ultimately save you time, money, and likely pain, so schedule it today!
Looking for a last minute dental appointment? No problem! ImmediaDent offers walk-in check-ups anytime from 9 am to 9 pm, seven days a week. Anytime you need us, we’ll be there to help.