Dental exams and cleanings are a vital part of your oral care. They help us to catch any problems early and nip them in the bud before they have a chance to cause serious and painful problems. We suggest that patients visit us twice per year for dental exams and cleanings.
What does a dental exam involve?
A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by your dentist at your initial dental visit. During subsequent visits you will receive regular check-up exams, which include the following:
- Examination of diagnostic X-rays: X-rays are essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
- Oral cancer screening: We check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
- Gum disease evaluation: We examine the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
- Examination for tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
- Examination of existing restorations: We check any fillings, crowns, or other restorative work you have had done in order to determine whether it is in good repair or requires replacement.
What does a professional dental cleaning involve?
Professional dental cleanings are usually performed by Registered Dental Hygienists. Your cleaning appointment will include:
- Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is actually a living, growing colony of bacteria that feed on food debris on the tooth surface and sometimes beneath the gum line. As they feed, the bacteria produce toxins that inflame the gums and cause periodontal disease.
- Removal of tartar: Tartar is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Tartar forms above and below the gum line, and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
- Teeth polishing: Your dental hygienist will also use special polishing equipment to remove stains and plaque that was not already removed during tooth brushing and scaling.