Preventative care is a foundation of dentistry. The American Dental Association recommends visiting your dentist regularly – usually about twice yearly – for cleaning, examination, and consultation for potential treatment. Professional dental cleanings help remove plaque and calculus that is not removable using conventional brushing and flossing. Even though we brush and floss after every meal and before bed, plaque and decay harboring bacteria can accumulate in the tiny grooves and pits of the teeth making it harder to clean. Overtime, the teeth will begin to decay in those areas, which may result in pain and partial or total tooth loss.
Often, your dentist is able to identify potential problems that patients are not yet able to see or feel. When you maintain regular preventative dental appointments, you can keep away decay and gum disease, as well as recognize the beginning of oral health problems before they become severe.
DID YOU KNOW… that Americans are less and less likely to visit the dentist as they age? Data from the Centers for Disease Control reports that only 57 percent of Americans over age 65 visited the dentist in 2010. That compares to about 61 percent of adults under age 65 and about 79 percent of children ages 2 to 17. Nonetheless, it is important to visit the dentist for cleanings and exams regardless of how long has passed since your most recent dental appointment.
HOW IMPORTANT IS ORAL HYGIENE?
Oral hygiene is necessary for eliminating bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria build to form plaque that can harden and lead to long-term ailments such as gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease, and periodontal disease if it is not removed. A good dental care routine and regular checkups will keep your mouth healthy and prevent inflammation, infection, decay, and tooth loss.
WHY GET A DENTAL EXAM?
Dental exams give us the opportunity to evaluate your current methods of dental care and provide suggestions for future care in order to protect you from complications such as cavities and gum disease. They also allow us to detect problems early so they can be fixed quickly and easily.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU GET A DENTAL EXAM?
Dental exams should generally take place every six months. However, consult with our team to decide how often you should be examined, for we may suggest that you visit more frequently based on factors such as smoking, frequency of cavities and genetic susceptibility to tooth and root decay as well as gum disease.
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WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM A DENTAL EXAM?
At a typical dental exam, our team will thoroughly clean your teeth, removing any surface stains or deposits, called tartar or calculus, that are more difficult to remove than plaque and require the assistance of professional dental instruments. We will also check for signs of decay or gum disease. An X-ray may be performed to provide a more detailed summary of your oral health and to more closely identify any problems. We will ask you questions about your current methods of dental care, such as how often you brush your teeth, and floss, as well as whether you use a toothpaste with fluoride. With this information in mind, we will demonstrate proper dental care and provide suggestions on how to improve your habits to promote optimal oral health.
HOW CAN YOU PREPARE FOR A DENTAL EXAM?
The best way to prepare for a dental exam is to practice good dental care. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day is recommended. Be sure to clean your teeth before you arrive at your appointment. Our team will be cleaning your teeth for you, but it is helpful to remove food and plaque beforehand so we can focus on the more difficult-to-clean areas. You also want to make sure you are prepared to share pertinent information such as your medical history, insurance coverage and current dental care methods with us. Don’t be embarrassed to be honest about your oral health habits – our team is not here to judge you, but to work with you to improve your habits and ensure dental health! Lastly, be prepared to schedule a follow-up appointment or future check-up at the end of your dental exam.
WHAT TYPES OF GUIDELINES SHOULD I FOLLOW AFTER MY VISIT?
In between dental cleanings and consultations, be sure to maintain good oral habits at home. This includes daily flossing and brushing after meals. It’s also important to drink fluoridated water and use a fluoridated toothpaste.