Routine dental check-ups are essential. Of course, outside of the dental office you should be brushing your teeth twice a day, as well as flossing and cleaning your tongue daily to minimize plaque and promote fresh breath.
Standard Dental Check-up Procedures
A dental check-up includes 4 parts. The duration and intensity of these steps vary depending on the individual and the state of their oral health.
Step 1: Visual Examination
An examination of your mouth, lips , gums, tongue and mucous membranes are inspected for sores, growths or lesions. Your dentition is carefully evaluated for decay, wear, fractures and mobility.
Step 2: Digital Diagnostics
If you are due for x-rays, they will take place at this point. Digital x-rays provide instant results and can show problems that are not obvious during the visual examination.
Step 3: Gingival Pocket Examination
Healthy gums are equally as important as healthy teeth. This exam is used to establish the existence or risk of gum disease in a patient. A special hand-held instrument is used to measure the depth of the pockets between your teeth and gums; the deeper the pocket, the greater risk you have for infection and damage that leads to gum disease.
Step 4: Professional Dental Cleaning
Professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis) are performed by a Registered Dental Hygienist. Your cleaning appointment takes one hour and will include the following:
- Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
- Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease!
- Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.
The foundation for a beautiful smile is a set of beautiful teeth and healthy gums. This is why your dental exams and cleanings are so important. Regular visits to our office will ensure that your teeth and gums will remain strong and healthy, enabling you to keep your beautiful smile for a lifetime.