Maintaining your oral health is vital to your overall health. Learn what you can expect from a Dental Checkup.
Along with daily brushing and flossing, you can help protect your oral health by visiting your dentist for regular checkups. Most dentists recommended people receive a dental checkup every six months or twice a year, but they may also suggest more frequent or even fewer visits, depending on your dental health history.
What To Expect at a Check Up
Usually, a dental hygienist (this is a person skilled in cleaning and polishing your teeth. A hygentist can also give you personal advice on the best way to keep your teeth clean.) will spend the most time with you during a dental check up. Not all dental offices are the same but a typical dental check up usually involves:
- Cleaning and polishing. The hygienist uses a unique tool called a hand scaler or ultrasonic dental instrument. A scaler is used to remove or scrape tartar from the surface of your teeth. Once the tartar is removed, the appliance is switched to a rubber cup or brush to polish your teeth and eliminate any remaining plaque or stains.
- Coaching. After the cleaning, your hygienist will discuss any noticeable dental problems that are specific to you, and show you how to better brush and floss your teeth to help eliminate those problems.
- Examination. Your hygienist will examine your gums, mouth, and teeth, to identify any signs of ongoing issues (examples, a cavity, gum disease or even beginning signs of oral cancer). If any obvious problems are found, treatment will be discussed, or you may be referred to a specialist – like a periodontist (a dentist that deals specifically with gum disease) or an orthodontist (a dentist that specializes in straightening crooked teeth).
- X-rays. A dental exam usually (at least yearly) includes X-rays of your teeth. An X-ray allows the dentist to see cavities deep inside your teeth that might not be visible otherwise. It can also show gum disease, deep decay or other dental issues. If you are seeing a new dentist, you might want to bring any x-rays done within the last year from your previous dentist.
Comprehensive Check Up
If you are seeing a new dentist or if it’s been some time since your last dental check up, you might need a thorough dental examination. This exam includes everything we’ve already discussed but could also include:
- An intense exam of your head, and neck,
- A discussion of your medical history,
- A panoramic X-ray (a two-dimensional view of the upper and lower jaw).
How to make the most of out a Dental Exam
Many people do not realize their overall health is very closely related to your dental health, so it is vital to discuss any concerns or problems you are having with your dentist. Make sure to include:
- Anything new health issue you have been diagnosed with since your previous dental visit (diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease).
- Bring a list of all medication and your dosages or herbal supplement you take with you to your appointment. This will help the dentist as he reviews your health history and makes recommendations.
- It’s important to let the dentist know if you have a fear of visiting the dentist or suffer from dental anxiety. This is a very common occurrence, and the dentist can help make your stay more comfortable.
- If you have experienced any changes with your teeth or gums or noticed any problems on the inside of your mouth be sure to let the dentist know during your check up. The sooner a dentist is told about any pain, sensitivity, or suspicious areas in your mouth – the earlier it can be dealt with and treated.
If it’s been awhile and you’re overdue for a cleaning, please visit Alpenglow Dental http://alpenglowdentists.com/ website to find a location near you and schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience. Make sure your teeth are receiving the professional attention they deserve!