Dental Visit – Every Six Months
Have you ever wondered why we recommend that you come back every six months? This is because regular dental visits are essential for the maintenance of healthy teeth and gums. In between those examinations, it’s important that you do your best to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy. If you need additional help, we may even suggest more frequent visits.
What Goes On During A Regular Visit
Checking your teeth for tooth decay is just one part of a thorough dental examination. During your checkup appointment, we will likely evaluate the health of your gums, perform a head and neck examination (to look for anything out of the ordinary), and examine your mouth for any indications of oral cancer, diabetes, or vitamin deficiencies. If your exams are normal, we will then clean your teeth and will always stress the importance that you maintain good, at-home oral hygiene in between visits.
During the adult or child cleaning, we pay special attention to plaque and tartar. This is because plaque and tartar can build up in a very short time if good oral hygiene is not practiced. Food, beverages, and tobacco can stain teeth as well and if not removed, soft plaque can harden on the teeth and irritate the gum tissue. If not treated, plaque can lead to gum disease.
During your regularly scheduled dental appointments, your dentist will likely look at your gums, mouth, tongue and throat. There are several routine parts to a dental examination:
The Head And Neck Examination
•Examining your face
•Examining your neck
•Checking your lymph nodes
•Checking your lower jaw joints (TMJs)
During the final part of the dental visit, your dental professional cleans your mouth using these methods:
•Checking the cleanliness of your teeth and gums
•Removing any plaque and tartar
•Polishing your teeth
•Flossing between your teeth
•Reviewing recommended brushing and flossing techniques
Once your examination and cleaning have been performed, we will report the health of your teeth and gums and make any additional recommendations.
A sealant is a thin, protective coating (made from plastic or other dental materials) that adheres to the chewing surface of your back teeth. They’re no substitute for brushing and flossing, but they can keep cavities from forming and may even stop early stages of decay from becoming a full-blown cavity.
In fact, sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars. This is especially important when it comes to your child’s dental health. In October 2016, the Centers for Disease Control released a report on the importance of sealants for school-aged children, of which only 43% of children ages 6-11 have. According to the CDC, “school-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants.”
The Clinical Dental Examination
•Examining the gums
•Looking for signs of gum disease
•Checking for loose teeth
•Looking at the tissues inside of your mouth
•Examining your tongue
•Checking your bite
•Looking for visual evidence of tooth decay
•Checking for broken teeth
•Checking for damaged fillings
•Looking for changes in the gums covering teeth
•Evaluating any dental appliance you have
•Checking the contact between your teeth
Tooth decay is 100% preventable. All tooth decay starts out small and only gets larger with time. If caught early enough, habits can be changed and the decay can be reversed; however, once a true cavity is formed, it needs dental intervention to bring the tooth back to oral health. Using a fluoride toothpaste, brushing at least two times per day for 2 minutes, and daily flossing is the key to preventing tooth decay.
Tooth decay is the number one most communicable disease. It is spread from person to person. To have tooth decay, it takes the right bacteria, a tooth, and a sugar source. Bacteria, which everyone has in their mouths, colonizes on teeth and when we eat sugar, they eat sugar and thus produce acid that dissolves our teeth (tooth decay). We can prevent tooth decay by removing the sugar source, removing the bacteria, or by removing the tooth. Brushing and flossing help to remove the bacteria off of the teeth and the sugars from the tooth. Sealants cover the tooth with a plastic coating and remove the tooth from the equation.