Dental Checkups & Teeth Cleanings: What to Expect
Knowing what to expect when you go in for a dental checkup can help ease the anxiety of going into the dentist. Usually, you should get a dental checkup every six months to ensure the health of your teeth and gums.
Not only are checkups great for your overall health, but they also give your dentist the opportunity to share tips on caring for your teeth and detect oral health problems early. Here is what you can expect from a typical dental checkup.
Most teeth cleanings are performed by a dental hygiene professional. Before the teeth cleaning begins, the hygienist will start with an exam of your entire mouth. By using a small mirror tool, the hygienist will check around your teeth and gums for any sign of gingivitis (inflamed gums) or other potential concerns.
If any major issues are detected, the hygienist might call the dentist over to make sure it’s okay to continue.
Cleaning and Polishing
Next, the hygienist will begin to remove any plaque or tartar that has built up on your teeth. They do so by using the mirror tool and scaler. Usually plaque build up happens around the gums and in between teeth, so you’ll notice the hygienist focusing there. The more plaque and tartar there is, the more scraping there will be. Then they will expertly floss your teeth, making sure to get any problem areas where the gums might bleed more. Next, they’ll do a fluoride treatment on your teeth, which is a protectant for your teeth to help fight against cavities for several months.
Another big part of the dental checkup process is education. After the cleaning the dental hygienist will discuss any hygiene problems that were detected. They’ll also show you ways to more effectively brush and floss your teeth, if necessary.
Both the dental hygienist and your dentist will then do an examination on your teeth, gums and mouth to look for signs of any problems, like a cavity, gum disease, or early signs of oral cancer. The dentist will use the mirror tool to get a better view of your teeth and gums, and if they see any issues, they might recommend a special treatment or refer you to a specialist.
At some of your dental visits, your dentist might ask for x-rays of your teeth. A dental X-ray allows the dentist to see detailed images of specific sections of your mouth to help diagnose problems not visible during the dental exam. X-rays aren’t typically needed at every checkup, so your dentist or hygiene specialist will talk to you about your need for x-rays based on your oral health and risk of disease.
Getting regular dental checkups is so important to your overall health. Dentists and hygienists are here to make sure you’re keeping your mouth and teeth in tip top shape. Dental Office is always here to help you and answer any questions you have. Call our office at 360-336-6193 to make an appointment for your next dental checkup!