On your initial visit, the dentist will perform a complete dental examination. On subsequent, regular, check-up dental exams your dentist and/or your hygienist will include:
- Examination by your dentist of diagnostic radiographs (x-rays) to evaluate tooth and root positions and to detect any decay, bone loss, tumors and cysts.
- Screening for oral cancer by checking lips, tongue, gums, throat and other tissues for any signs of oral cancer.
- Checking gums and bone around the teeth for an evaluation of gum disease.
- Examination of the surfaces of all teeth to check for tooth decay, using special dental instruments.
- Checking existing restoration surfaces for chips, cracks or other damage, including fillings, crowns and bridges.
Dental cleanings (prophylaxis) may be performed by your dentist, but usually they are performed by a Registered Dental Hygienist. A cleaning appointment is made up of 2 parts: a dental exam and the following:
- Removal of plaque, a sticky film that forms on the tooth and is an almost invisible film formed of bacteria, food debris and saliva. Plaque releases toxins which inflame the gums, which results in gum disease over time.
- Removal of calculus (tartar) which is hardened plaque left on the tooth which, over time, hardens and firmly attaches to the tooth surface. Removal of calculus, above and below the gumline, requires special dental instruments.
- Teeth polishing to remove stains and any plaque remaining after tooth scaling.
Dental X Rays (radiographs) are invaluable as preventive and diagnostic tools. They provide images and information of tissue and bone that allow dentists and dental hygienists to detect any invisible irregularities and to complete the optimal treatment plan.
- Dental X Rays may detect, among other conditions, abscesses, cysts, bone loss, tumors (benign or malignant), decay between teeth, poor tooth or root positions and problems beneath the gum line or inside the tooth. Dental radiographs are the primary tool for early detection of problems, which translates into savings of time, money, discomfort, teeth and even life!
- Dental X Rays are safe. The radiation exposure from a full mouth series of radiographs is about the same as the exposure a person receives from natural sources in a single day. Digital dental radiography produces a very low level of radiation and are considered safe, especially after the precautions taken in your dental office, including using a lead apron to protect the body and using modern, ultra-fast radiographic settings to cut down the exposure time and intensity of every radiograph.
- The frequency with which dental x rays should be taken varies with each individual patient. After considering factors such as dental history, medical history, age, dental exam, risk for disease and signs and symptoms the dentist and dental hygienist will recommend necessary radiographs.
- A full mouth dental x-ray is recommended for first time patients. A full series radiograph is usually good for 2 to 5 years and bitewing radiographs (top and bottom teeth together) should be taken once or twice a y
Personal dental home care plays a very important role in achieving a healthy and terrific looking smile. Dental home care starts by eating regular, balanced, meals. It continues with reducing the number of snacks and, most importantly, the correct use of home dental aids to help control plaque and bacteria which cause dental diseases. Proper flossing and brushing prevents tooth decay, gum disease, halitosis (often caused by old food particles on or between teeth) and tooth staining.
- Floss at least once a day !!!
- Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline.
- Flossing blocks plaque colonies from building up, thus preventing damage to teeth, gums and bone.
- Flossing instructions:
- Wrap about 16” of floss around your middle fingers, leaving 2 to 3 inches of floss between hands.
- Use a back and forth motion to guide the floss between your teeth, using your thumbs and/or forefingers to guide the floss.
- Curve the floss in a “C” shape so that it wraps as much as possibly around the tooth and use a gentle up and down motion to go from under the gumline to the tip of the tooth.
- If you have difficulty using conventional floss, use a floss holder.
- Brush your teeth 2 or 3 times a day, especially before going to bed, using a soft bristle brush and toothpaste.
- Place brush at 45 degree angle so the tips of the bristles are placed on the gumline (between gum and tooth).
- Use small circular motions to brush gums and teeth. Do not scrub or apply heavy pressure.
- Brush every surface of every tooth, cheek or lip side, and tongue side.
- Brush chewing surfaces using back and forth motion with your brush. Brush all chewing surfaces, especially the ones at the back teeth.
- Brush tongue to remove food and bacteria.