Although daily brushing and flossing are great for maintaining oral health, they are not enough – visiting your dentist for a comprehensive exam and cleaning is also essential. It’s recommended that you visit your dentist every six months to ensure the health of your mouth.
Unlike health issues in other areas of the body, which present symptoms before progressing into more serious stages, oral diseases do not show signs until they are fairly advanced and therefore more difficult to treat. Regularly visiting your dentist allows him or her to check for potential threats before they become too serious and treat them, preserving the health of your mouth.
During a normal dental exam, your dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth and gums for signs of tooth decay and gum disease, as well as other health problems. You may also get x-rays taken to see what is happening beneath the surface of the teeth and gums. These images, whether digital or traditional, allow your dentist to find issues not visible to the naked eye.
A professional cleaning is normally performed by a dental hygienist. The hygienist will start by exploring the surface of your teeth to look for cavities and to assess the quality of any existing fillings. He or she will then perform a periodontal exam to check for gum disease. This exam consists of checking to see that the gums sufficiently adhere to the teeth and that there is no bone loss occurring. Next, your teeth will be cleaned with a variety of tools to remove plaque and tartar from the tooth surfaces. Your hygienist will also floss your teeth, use a polishing compound, and may apply fluoride.
Cleanings typically are not painful, but some patients may feel anxiety towards them. For these cases, we offer several sedation options to ensure your comfort. If any dental issue, such as decay or gum disease, is detected, your hygienist or dentist will discuss it with you following the cleaning, along with treatment options. However, if the teeth and gums appear to be healthy, you will probably simply be encouraged to continue your oral care routine as before.