Everyone needs regular preventive dental exams. Even if you are diligent about brushing and flossing, your teeth and gums still need regular care from a dental professional. How often you go for a dental exam depends on your oral health needs. The goal is to catch small problems early. For most people, this means a dental exam every six months. Your dentist may suggest that you visit more or less often depending on how well you care for your teeth and gums.
A dental exam can include some or all of the following procedures:
- Dental and medical history update - Your dentist or dental hygienist will ask you about oral or general health problems, medications, and allergies.
- Examination and treatment – Your dentist or dental hygienist will look for early signs of oral cancer and many other diseases. Your dentist will also look for gum disease, cavities, eroded fillings, tooth fractures, and oral infections. Dental professionals are trained to catch small problems before they become big ones, and can often treat a problem right away.
- X-rays – X-rays may or may not be a part of your checkup. X-rays help your dentist see problems long before they get too serious. Your dentist will only take x-rays if there is a need for them.
- Cleaning (scaling and polish) - A cleaning makes your teeth and fillings smooth, so it's harder for plaque to build up on your teeth. Plaque is clear, sticky, and forms on your teeth every day. If plaque is left on your teeth, it hardens into tartar/calculus. Scaling is the only way to remove tartar, it cannot be removed with your toothbrush. If tartar is not removed, it can cause gum disease. Polishing removes surface stains, so your teeth look better. A good cleaning can take some time, but it's time well spent. For more information on why a regular cleaning is so important see Gum disease.
- Fluoride treatment - a member of your dental team may apply fluoride to your teeth during a dental exam. It may be a gel, foam, liquid, or a varnish. Fluoride prevents cavities by making your teeth resistant to acid, repairs the damage caused by acid, and inhibits the production of acid by bacteria.
- Advice - your dentist or dental hygienist can give advice and answer your questions based on the results of your checkup.
Contact Greenway Dental today to make your next check-up and hygiene appointment.