We understand that the dental chair may not be your favorite place. This is why, at Premier Dental of Ohio, we place a huge emphasis on preventive dentistry. For many years, dentistry was focused on fixing problems as they arose, but today, our emphasis is often on preventing problems before they occur.
The most first and most important part of preventative dentistry the cleaning and checkup exam. Consistent cleanings and visits with the doctor allows an assessment of the stability and condition of your mouth and allows your dentist the ability to recommend treatments or home care techniques that may prevent more serious or costly problems.
What to Expect From a Professional Teeth Cleaning
During a teeth cleaning, your dental hygienist gently removes plaque and tartar buildup from exposed tooth surfaces. The hygienist may use various hand instruments or an ultrasonic scaler to remove plaque and the build up we call calculus.
If you have healthy teeth and gums, a professional teeth cleaning should not cause any pain!
If you have receding gums, cavities, or gum disease, some discomfort is possible. Make sure to let your hygienist know if anything is painful while they are working.
The dental hygienist may also take measurements of your gum tissues. This is an important step in determining the health of the bone and gums that support your teeth. During these measurements, you will feel the hygienist gently “poking” around the gums of each tooth.
While the hygienist is cleaning your teeth, he or she will also be evaluating your entire mouth for areas of risk or concern. The hygienist will inform the dentist of these areas during the exam portion of the appointment.
Why Are Consistent Teeth Cleanings Important?
The professional term used for a dental cleaning is “prophylaxis”. This is the word that may appear on paperwork from your dental office or your dental insurance company. “Prophylaxis” is defined as an action taken to prevent disease. Regular teeth cleanings are preventive dentistry.
By consistently removing bacterial buildup and calcifications, as well as identifying the early indicators of problems, teeth cleanings can prevent cavities and gum disease!
What to Expect From a Checkup
In most cases, a periodic oral evaluation by a dentist accompanies each teeth cleaning with your dental hygienist. During a checkup, or a ”periodic oral evaluation”, your dentist performs an in-depth evaluation of your teeth, gums and tissues of the oral cavity. You may feel the dentist pushing or poking on the teeth. This is a normal way to asses the integrity of the enamel in areas that might look stained or darkened. The dentist uses a tool called an explorer to check the edges of any fillings or crowns you already have.
In addition to the teeth and gums, your dentist should also evaluate the soft tissues of the mouth the alignment of your teeth, and the function of your jaw joints (TMJs). The dentist will carefully look at any areas of concern that either you or the dental hygienist have noticed.
After gathering all of this information, your dentist diagnoses any problems that currently need treatment. He or she also informs you of any signs in your mouth that point to an area of risk or disease.
Are X-rays Necessary?
Yes they are! Dental x-rays are often the only way identify if you have cavities between your teeth. Additionally, x-rays allow your dentist to screen for problems in the bone surrounding the teeth, including the bone loss associated with periodontal disease, infections around roots of teeth and other problems that can occur in the jawbones. Modern dental x-rays are very safe.
Digital technology has allowed us to significantly reduce the amount of radiation needed to obtain a typical dental x-ray. In fact, you are exposed to higher amounts of radiation through natural environmental exposure than from your routine dental x-ray. One dental X-ray exposes a patient to the same amount of radiation as eating around 50 bananas! (Bananas contain a small percentage of radioactive potassium).
Why Are Consistent Checkups Important?
Do not wait until something hurts!
Waiting until something hurts usually means you have waited too long. Many dental problems need fixed well before the patient feels any symptoms. By having your teeth checked regularly, we are able to intercept problems before they cause any pain.
By catching dental problems early, the treatment is less extensive and less expensive!
What is Risk Assessment, and Why Is It Important?
Risk categories in dentistry include caries (or tooth decay), gum and periodontal disease, bruxism (clenching or grinding your teeth), and TMJ disorders. As your dentist notices signs or symptoms in any of these categories, he or she will make recommendations to help reduce or mitigate your risks and keep you healthy.
Do You Need a Cleaning and Checkup?
Has it been a while since your last teeth cleaning? When was your last checkup with a dentist? Maybe you are new in town and have not found your dental home. Call us today to schedule an appointment for a cleaning and checkup.