Good at-home dental hygiene and regular dental exams and cleanings are the keystones to a lifetime of good oral health. A healthy mouth also plays a crucial role in your overall well-being. For instance, poor oral hygiene and health can significantly increase the risk of diabetes and serious cardiovascular diseases.
Even with good oral health, dental exams and cleanings are essential to ensure that your health remains that way. According to dental experts, you should have at least two dental exams and cleanings per year. If you have existing oral conditions or are at a higher risk of developing dental problems, you might need more than two dental exams and cleanings.
What to Expect During Dental Exams and Cleanings
If it’s your first time going for a dental exam and cleaning, there isn’t much you need to do to prepare. Just make sure you wear comfortable clothes, avoid jewelry, and get to the dental office on time for your appointment. If you have any questions or concerns, prepare them beforehand to ask your dentist.
The dentist will begin by asking you a few questions about your oral and overall health. They will want to know if you have had any medical problems, if you’re taking any medications, whether you smoke, and any family history.
Now that the dentist understands your oral and overall health, they will go ahead and perform a comprehensive dental examination. While the procedures carried out during an exam may vary depending on the dental office or patient, here is a typical session:
- Gum Disease and Cavities Exam – The dentist checks your mouth for signs of disease, including the teeth, gums, tongue, and other structures. For instance, the dentist will check your gums and jawbone for plaque, tartar, or signs of gum disease. The dentist will also check the teeth for decay.
- X-rays – If necessary, the dentist may take x-rays of your mouth. It is easier to notice or detect decay, cysts, bone loss, and tumors using x-rays than a physical exam.
- Oral Cancer Screening – When diagnosed early, oral cancer is treatable. Your dentist can check your face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, neck, tissues, and gums for early signs of oral cancer. If signs of cancer are detected, the dentist may have to perform a further examination or refer you to an oral cancer care specialist for confirmation and treatment.
- Examining Existing Restorations – If you have existing restorations such as dental crowns, fillings, or bridges, your dentist will check them for damage. If any restoration is damaged, it should be repaired or replaced with an additional appointment unless severe.
Dental cleanings can be performed by a dentist or registered hygienist. Here is what to expect:
- Plaque and Tartar Removal – When food particles and other debris get trapped between the teeth and gums, they harden to form plaque. If plaque isn’t eliminated soon, it hardens to form tartar. Tartar firmly attaches to the tooth’s surface and within the gum line.Even with thorough brushing and flossing, you can’t eliminate the tartar. It can only be removed with special dental instruments and products. If not eliminated, plaque and tartar buildup can lead to decay and gum disease.
- Teeth Polishing – The dentist finishes the cleaning by polishing up the teeth to remove stains. If there are significant stains or discoloration, the dentist may suggest teeth whitening.
Once the dentist is done examining and cleaning your mouth, they will share the results with you. If any problems were discovered, they with advise you accordingly. The dentist is also likely to give you a few hygiene tips. Even with professional exams and cleanings, proper at-home dental hygiene is essential.
Benefits of Dental Exams and Cleanings
If you’re not still convinced why dental exams and cleanings are essential, here are a few reasons why:
- Early Detection of Dental Problems – During a dental exam, the dentist is likely to detect dental issues in their early stages and address them before they progress to serious stages.
- Prevents and Minimizes Damage – Regular professional cleaning prevents and minimizes damage to your teeth, gums, and other oral structures. For instance, eliminating tartar and plaque reduces the risk of developing cavities and gum disease.
- Saves You Money – By catching oral issues on time, damage to your oral structures is significantly reduced. This prevents the need for expensive or complex treatments, saving you money in the long run.
- Keeps Your Smile Brighter – During a professional cleaning, your teeth and gums are cleaned, flossed, and polished, giving you a brighter and healthier smile.
Schedule An Appointment Today
Are you interested in dental exams and cleaning services? Contact South Hadley Dental Group today to book your appointment.