Our dental team recommends that all patients return to the office for dental checkups at least once every six months.
Monitor the Smile
By scheduling regular appointments and cleanings, our dental team will be able to monitor the smile for any signs of concern.
Patients will also be taught what they can do to prevent these issues during checkups.
If a patient is having a dental checkup for the first time, or if they have not been to the dentist in a while, they often find themselves wondering what a dental checkup is. During this routine appointment, a dental professional will check the smile, teeth, and gums for infection, decay, and disease, such as cavities or periodontitis (gum disease).
At some point during the checkup, they will also be given guidance on home care. This allows them to keep their smile in the best shape possible between checkups.
During a dental cleaning, the dental professional removes plaque, a bacterial buildup, by gently scraping above and below the gum line. Flossing between teeth may cause slight discomfort for irregular flossers, but it improves with regular practice. The cleaning concludes with teeth polishing using a spinning brush and paste, preventing plaque buildup and maintaining a smooth, shiny appearance. Patients are usually asked to rinse with mouthwash for a fresh finish.
During a dental visit, the dentist discusses the patient's dental history, medications, allergies, and concerns. Honesty is vital for personalized care. The dentist examines the mouth with a mirror, checking for issues like swelling, sores, gum recession, tooth decay, and dental pockets. These pockets can indicate gum disease, and the dentist may recommend at-home care and monitoring for overall oral health.
New patients and those who have not had them done in a while will be asked to have dental X-rays taken of their mouth at their dental checkup. These X-rays are important because they allow dentists to check the roots beneath the gum line, which are otherwise inaccessible. For the X-rays, the patient will bite down on a piece of plastic that is placed between their teeth. A machine will be placed near their cheek to take the image. Their dentist will then review the image to check for any dental concerns.
What happens during a dental cleaning?
During a dental cleaning, a dental professional will use specialized dental tools to clean the teeth. These tools include a scraping tool that looks like a small metal hook to remove buildup from the surface of the teeth and an electric toothbrush with coarse toothpaste to clean and shine the teeth. Together with a dental mouthwash, a dental cleaning will remove buildup from the teeth and protect them from bacteria.
What is a dental exam?
A dental exam is very similar to a dental checkup. Just like a checkup, a dental professional checks the teeth for any sign of concern and cleans the teeth. The difference is that with a dental exam, the dental professional will also check other areas that may be affected by oral health, like the head and neck. This exam is usually only recommended for new patients.
What is a dental X-ray?
A dental X-ray is like other X-rays, but this one looks specifically at the mouth. More specifically, this X-ray looks at the roots and areas beneath the gum line where the dental professional otherwise would not be able to see. Dental X-rays are important for checking for signs of disease or other oral health concerns around the roots of the teeth.
What happens if someone waits too long for a dental checkup?
Bacteria naturally attach to the surface of the teeth as they are used to eat. While at-home oral care can help to remove much of this bacteria, it is next to impossible to remove all of it without professional dental tools. Waiting too long between dental checkups gives these bacteria time to settle onto the teeth and turn into plaque and tartar. If this buildup is not removed, it could lead to tooth decay or disease over time and create further oral health concerns.
What at-home care should be done between dental checkups?
Recommended at-home dental care includes brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Also, dental care professionals suggest patients use a mouthwash that includes fluoride. Patients may be advised to avoid smoking, eating sugary foods, and other activities that are known to be harmful to oral health.