Dental Exams and Cleanings
Dental exams and cleanings are essential components of preventive dental care that help maintain your oral health, prevent dental problems, and detect issues early before they become more serious. These routine appointments involve a thorough examination of the teeth, gums, and mouth, followed by a professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar buildup.
What to expect during your dental exam
Regular dental exams are extremely important to maintaining your oral. What will happen at your dental exam?
Medical History Review: We will review your medical history, including any current medications, allergies, or past dental treatments. It's important to inform us of any changes in your health or medications since your last visit.
Discussion of Concerns: You'll have the opportunity to discuss any dental concerns or symptoms you may be experiencing, such as tooth sensitivity, pain, or changes in the appearance of your teeth or gums.
Visual Inspection: We will visually inspect your mouth, teeth, and gums for signs of dental problems, such as tooth decay, gum disease, oral lesions, or abnormalities.
X-rays: Dental X-rays may be taken to assess the underlying structures of the teeth and jawbone, as well as detect any hidden dental issues such as cavities, bone loss, impacted teeth, or abnormalities in tooth development.
Periodontal Evaluation: We will assess the health of your gums by measuring the depth of the periodontal pockets (the space between the gums and teeth) and checking for signs of gum inflammation or bleeding.
Oral Cancer Screening: A thorough examination of the oral tissues, including the lips, tongue, cheeks, palate, and throat, may be performed to check for signs of oral cancer or precancerous lesions.
How often should you get your dental exam?
The frequency of dental exams may vary depending on individual factors such as your oral health status, medical history, and risk factors for dental problems. However, as a general guideline, it is typically recommended to have a dental exam every six months, or twice a year. These routine check-ups allow your dentist to monitor your oral health, detect any dental issues early, and provide preventive care to help maintain optimal oral hygiene.
For some individuals, more frequent dental exams may be necessary. Dr. Lemons may recommend more frequent visits if you have a history of dental problems such as gum disease, tooth decay, or a high risk of cavities. Additionally, people with certain medical conditions such as diabetes or a weakened immune system may require more frequent dental check-ups to prevent oral complications.
What should I expect during my dental cleaning?
A dental cleaning, also known as a dental prophylaxis, is a professional procedure performed by one of our amazing dental hygienists to remove plaque, tartar (calculus), and stains from the surfaces of the teeth. It is an essential part of preventive dental care and helps you maintain optimal oral health.
Here's what a dental cleaning is for:
Plaque Removal: Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth, especially in areas that are difficult to reach with regular brushing and flossing. If left untreated, plaque can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems. During a dental cleaning, the dental hygienist uses specialized instruments to remove plaque buildup from the surfaces of the teeth, including along the gumline and between the teeth.
Tartar Removal: Over time, plaque can harden into tartar (calculus), which cannot be removed by brushing and flossing alone. Tartar buildup can irritate the gums, leading to inflammation and gum disease. During a dental cleaning, our hygienists use scaling instruments to carefully remove tartar deposits from the teeth, especially in areas where it has accumulated.
Stain Removal: Dental cleanings also help remove surface stains from the teeth, caused by factors such as food and beverage consumption, smoking, and certain medications. Your hygienist may use a polishing tool and abrasive toothpaste to gently buff away surface stains, leaving the teeth smoother and brighter.
Gum Health Assessment: In addition to removing plaque and tartar, a dental cleaning includes an assessment of the health of your gums. The hygienist measures the depth of the periodontal pockets (the space between the gums and teeth) to check for signs of gum disease, such as inflammation, bleeding, or recession. This evaluation helps identify early signs of gum disease and allows for prompt treatment and management.
Preventive Education: During a dental cleaning, your hygienist may provide personalized oral hygiene instructions and recommendations for home care. This may include proper brushing and flossing techniques, advice on choosing oral care products, and tips for maintaining good oral health habits. Education about diet and lifestyle factors that can affect oral health may also be provided.