Going to your dentist for regular dental check-ups is a pivotal part of maintaining your oral health. Most Australians realize this, with the Australian Dental Association reporting that 80% of citizens visit their dentist at least once per year for regular check-ups.
However, dental exams can be scary for a lot of people. They walk in with the uneasy thought of if their teeth are in good health, then once in the dentist chair, the strange sounds and someone poking and prodding around their mouth can turn that uneasiness into fear and anxiety.
Well, don’t worry. It’s not as scary as it sounds. Today we are going to tell you what your dentist and their staff are doing in your mouth from start to finish. It all starts with your dental hygienist.
A dental hygienist works alongside your dentist and is the person at the dentist office that you will spend the most time with. They take care of the routine steps during your dental check-up. Things like cleanings, administering fluoride and examining your mouth for signs of diseases such as gingivitis. However, before examining your teeth, they will start with an analysis of your medical history.
A regular dental check up is important because they help keep your teeth and gums healthy. You should have a regular dental visit at least every 6 months or as recommended by your dental professional.
What happens at your dental visit?
There are 2 parts to a regular dental visit – check up, or examination and the cleaning, or oral prophylaxis.
At the dental check up your dental professional will check for cavities. X-rays might be taken to detect cavities between your teeth. The exam will also include a check for plaque and tartar on your teeth. Plaque is a clear, sticky layer of bacteria. If it is not removed, it can harden and become tartar. You cannot remove tartar with brushing and flossing. If plaque and tartar build up on your teeth, they can cause oral diseases.
Next, your gums will be checked. This will be done with a special tool to measure the depth of the spaces between your teeth and gums. With healthy gums, the spaces are shallow. When people have gum disease, the spaces may become deeper.
The check-up should also include a careful examination of your tongue, throat, face, head, and neck. This is to look for any signs of trouble – swelling, redness, or possible signs of cancer.
Your teeth will also be cleaned at your visit. Brushing and flossing help clean the plaque from your teeth, but you can’t remove tartar at home. During the cleaning, your dental professional will use special tools to remove tartar. This is called scaling.
Scaling removes plaque and tartar
After your teeth are scaled, they may be polished. In most cases, a gritty paste is used for this. It helps to remove any surface stains on your teeth. The final step is flossing. Your dental professional will use floss to make sure the areas between your teeth are clean.
What you should do between each dental visit
Be sure to take care of your teeth and gums between regular dental visits. Plaque is always forming on your teeth, but you can manage it by brushing and flossing regularly. Here are some tips for good oral care at home.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Be sure to use a toothpaste that contains fluoride.
- Floss daily.
- Use a mouthwash to help control plaque bacteria. This will also help to keep your breath fresh.
Quick facts about a regular dental check up
- Regular dental visits are important because they help to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
- There are two parts to a regular dental visit:
– The check up
– The cleaning
- During the dental check up, your dental professional will check your overall oral health for any trouble areas.
- During the cleaning, your dental professional will remove any plaque and tartar buildup and may polish your teeth.
- You should have a regular dental visit at least twice a year or as recommended by your dental professional.