Regular dental checkups are a crucial part of maintaining good oral health. These appointments allow your dentist to detect and treat any problems that might be developing without you even knowing it.
But what can you expect during a routine dental checkup? Here's a quick rundown.
Cleaning and Polishing
The most common part of any dental checkup is a professional cleaning. Your dental hygienist will use special tools to remove any plaque or tartar that has built up on your teeth since your last visit.
A professional cleaning procedure involves both scraping and brushing your teeth. Your dentist could use a dental scaler, which is a small hand-held tool that looks like a miniature toothbrush. The scaler is used to break up any plaque or tartar that's stuck to your teeth.
After your teeth are nice and clean, they will be polished with gritty toothpaste. This helps remove any residual staining and leaves your teeth looking nice and shiny. Your dentist will be especially thorough in cleaning any areas that are especially prone to plaque build-up, such as around your gum line.
While the cleaning itself is generally pretty straightforward, you might be wondering why it's necessary to have your teeth cleaned by a professional every few months. After all, can't you just brush and floss at home?
The answer is yes, you definitely should be brushing and flossing regularly. But even the most diligent brushers and flossers can miss a spot now and then. That's where dental cleanings come in. They help remove any lingering plaque and tartar that you might have missed, which can prevent cavities and gum disease.
Monitoring for Any Issues
In addition to cleaning your teeth, your dental checkup will also involve a thorough examination of your mouth, teeth, and gums. Your dentist will be looking for any signs of decay, gum disease, or other related problems.
To do this, your dentist will use a small mirror to get a close-up view of all your teeth. They will also use a dental probe, which is a thin metal tool that helps them check for any signs of decay below the surface of your teeth.
Gum disease is another common dental issue that your dentist will be on the lookout for. They will check for any signs of inflammation or bleeding in your gums. They will also measure the depth of the pockets around your teeth, as these can be an indicator of gum disease.
Gum disease happens when plaque and tartar build up below the gum line. This can cause the gums to become inflamed and eventually pull away from the teeth. This creates tiny pockets of space between the gum and tooth, which can become infected. The deeper these pockets are, the more serious the gum disease.
If your dentist does find any signs of decay or gum disease, they will likely recommend a treatment plan to help correct the problem.
Visit a local office like Creative Smiles for more information.