The dental checkup and clean is an essential regular medical health check. The mouth is also a part of the body isn’t it?
The majority of visits to your dental professional should be for regular checks-ups and professional cleanings — not dental procedures. We have to move from going to the dentist whenever there is a problem to going to the dentist to ensure there is no dental problem!
By seeing your dentist regularly, ideally every six months, tooth decay and gum disease can be recognised so that preventive treatments can be implemented early and your need for dental procedures significantly reduced. If your mouth looks and smells healthy, it is likely you are doing a good job at practicing daily oral care in between your regular, six-monthly dental check and clean. Your teeth should be clean and free of debris; bad breath should not be a problem for you; and your gums should be firm, pink, and they should not bleed when your brush your teeth or floss.
On your first visit to a dental professional, they will review your complete medical history. Always inform your dental professional of any medical conditions you may have — such as diabetes, a heart murmur or if you are pregnant — keep them apprised of any changes in your condition, and tell them what medications you’re taking, even those you purchase over the counter. Your dentist may need to coordinate treatment with your doctor.
Dental check-ups almost always include a complete, professional cleaning. Using special instruments, your dentist or a dental hygienist will scrape the inner and outer surfaces of your teeth and just below your gum line to remove any build-up of plaque and tartar. It’s important to remember that you can clean away plaque on your own by brushing your teeth and flossing, but once you have tartar, only your dental professional can remove it. They may decide to polish and floss your teeth, as well, helping to remove any surface stains and restore your teeth to their natural shade.
Your dental professional then will perform a thorough examination of your teeth, gums and mouth, looking for signs of tooth decay, gum disease or other oral health issues. Their goal will be to identify any issues early enough for reversal of disease and to prevent conditions from becoming serious.
Depending on your age and medical condition, your dentist may advise that X-rays are necessary to assist diagnosis of oral health issues related to your jawbone, tooth roots, impacted teeth such as wisdom teeth, or decay between your teeth. Modern dental X-ray equipment emits very little radiation, or no more than you would receive from a weekend watching TV. Your dentist will advise you to wear a lead apron while X-rays are being taken as a precaution.
If further treatment is required, such as filling a cavity or repairing a broken crown, it’s best to make an appointment before you leave the office and address your situation as soon as possible.