Has it been a long time since the last time you’ve stepped into a dentist office? You know you should go in twice a year, but for some reason, you’ve made going to the dentist a low priority.
No matter what your reason is, regular, twice annual professional dental cleanings are important to maintaining your dental and overall health.
Patients with even the most consistent, proper oral hygiene routines need to come in for a professional teeth cleaning and exam.
A dental cleaning isn’t anything to be afraid of. It is usually painless and quick. Only a deep cleaning at the dentist office can remove stubborn plaque and clean teeth deep enough to make them smooth, making it hard for more plaque to adhere to.
If you’ve forgotten what a dental cleaning entails, here is a refresher:
A typical dental cleaning involves the dentist or dental hygienist using a small blade-like metal instrument called a scaler to scrape off calcified plaque (tartar) above and below the gum line of each tooth. Sometimes an ultrasonic vibration device may be used to shake loose any plaque. A stream of water is then used to wash out the mouth and get rid of the particles of plaque.
After the plaque and tartar are removed, an abrasive toothpaste will be applied to the teeth to clean them. After rinsing the paste out with water, the dentist will finish the cleaning with flossing. Many dentists will have their young patients (under 18) to rinse with a fluoride mouthwash.
After the cleaning, the dentist will then examine the patient’s mouth and throat for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, oral cancer and other oral health issues and suggest the best treatment options. The dentist will also be able make observations about possible health issues based on the patient’s oral health condition and vice versa.
The dentist will use a metal probe and a small, angled mirror to look for tooth decay. For gum disease, the dentist will look for swelling and redness of the gums and expanding pockets between the gum line and the teeth.
Symptoms of bruxism and temporomandibular joint disorder, which also weaken the strength of the teeth and the teeth enamel will also be looked for.
The patient’s neck, lymph glands, and soft issues of the mouth (lips, palate, cheeks and tongue) will be examines for early signs of oral cancer.
It is typical that during the dental examination the dentist will discuss a patient’s oral and overall health history, recent illnesses, drug reactions, current medication use, allergies and chronic diseases or illness.
For some patients, the dental cleaning and examination appointment will end with dental x-rays and bite impressions. Patients with jaw alignment issues, patients with current or past orthodontic work and seniors with dentures, will have their bite looked at with an x-ray.
Most patients can get by with a professional cleaning and examination twice a year. Patients that are at an increased risk of oral cancer or who have additional health or oral health concerns or issues may be asked to come in more frequently, even as much as once every three months.
Regular professional cleanings and examinations are necessary for superior dental health. Only a dentist can give your teeth the deep cleaning they need as well spot developing dental health issues.
If it has been a little too long since your last visit to your dentist office, contact us today at Galleria Dentistry to make a teeth cleaning and examination appointment today.