Proper oral hygiene can protect your mouth and teeth from disease and damaging bacteria. This means more than brushing and flossing; you need to see your dentist regularly to offer your teeth the care they deserve.
You can protect your teeth with regular dental check-up exams, a vital component of your oral health. What should you expect during your dental check-up? Continue reading to learn more about the importance of dental check-up exams and what to expect during your next appointment.
What is a Dental Check-Up Exam?
Regular dental check-ups are vital for your health. Brushing and flossing can help keep your teeth clean, but regular dental visits can help protect your teeth from plaque build-up in hard-to-reach places. Your dental team can help identify any potential problems you may be having.
A check-up is more than cleaning; your dental team will look for many different things, including:
- Damaged, decayed, or missing teeth
- The condition of your gums
- How root canals, fillings, & crowns are doing
- Early signs of cavities
- The position of your teeth
- Signs of grinding or clenching
- Signs of inflammation
- The overall function of your jaw
Dental check-ups are important for your oral health, but do you need to be seeing your dentist twice a year? How vital are consistent dental visits?
Why are Consistent Dental Check-Ups Important?
Even if you manage your oral hygiene well, issues can still develop with time. The earlier your dentist finds a problem, the easier it is to manage and treat.
Dental exams aren’t only for your teeth. Disease or medical conditions may present signs your dentist can identify during a regular check-up. These possible diseases include:
What Should You Expect in a Dental Check-Up Exam?
A check-up exam may differ slightly depending on your dental history and needs, but expect to experience the following:
- A discussion about your dental history
- A detailed dental exam
- Possible X-rays
- A thorough cleaning
- Details on your next appointment
Your Dental History
Before a visual inspection of your mouth, your dental team will discuss your history. This process may take longer during your first visit. Understanding your oral health is important for determining any possible complications or problems affecting your health.
A Dental Examination
During a regular dental check-up, you’ll experience a detailed examination of your mouth, gums, and teeth for any signs of tooth decay or oral problems. A dental hygienist typically performs this initial examination, but your dentist will diagnose any oral problems they notice.
X-rays are a useful tool for evaluating your oral health, but you may not experience them every visit. Your dental team will determine whether or not you require X-rays based on your oral health and risk of disease.
A Thorough Cleaning
A careful, thorough cleaning helps your dental team treat those hard-to-reach areas in your mouth. This cleaning begins with a procedure known as scaling, removing tartar deposits with precise instruments.
Tartar is hardened plaque accumulated over time. It gives bacteria more surface to grow on, worsening the development of cavities and gum disease. Scaling can help prevent bacteria from significantly affecting your oral health.
Polishing is next during your dental cleaning. A high-powered electric toothbrush helps with this treatment. This polishing is essential for keeping your teeth clean, helping to:
- Smooth the surface of your teeth
- Remove stains
- Prevent gum disease
- Remove plaque
Another important part of your dental cleaning is the use of fluoride. When bacteria attack your enamel, it can lead to tooth decay (cavities). Fluoride helps protect your teeth from this decay by making them more resistant to the acidity of plaque, bacteria, and sugars in your mouth.
Fluoride usually completes your dental cleaning, helping protect your teeth for several months.
Scheduling Your Next Appointment
After completing your exam and cleaning, your dental team will discuss how the appointment went. This discussion may include tips on how to improve your oral hygiene or planning treatment for any problems encountered. If you have any questions about your oral hygiene, you can ask them here.
Depending on how your check-up went, you’ll book your next appointment for 6 months, or sooner if needed.
Remember to follow the recommendations of your dentist; they have your best interests in mind. Maintaining oral hygiene and scheduling consistent dental check-up exams can help prevent tooth decay and other complications.
Take Care of Your Oral Health
Don’t wait until you’re feeling pain or discomfort to see your dentist. Regular check-ups can help you keep your smile bright and healthy. Besides cleaning and examining your teeth, your dental team can offer recommendations and techniques to improve your oral hygiene.
If you’re having issues or need a dental exam, contact your dentist today.