Having your teeth checked & cleaned at least twice a year by the dentist & hygienist may be the most important component of maintaining the health of your teeth & gums, it includes the following:
- Medical & dental-history review: Many diseases have an oral component. Knowing the status of any current medical conditions, new medications & illnesses gives us insight into your overall health & possible oral concerns.
- Examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): Essential for detecting caries, cysts, tumors, bone loss, abscesses, impacted teeth, developing teeth, root fractures & root positions.
- Oral cancer screening: The face, neck, lips, tongue, floor of the mouth, soft tissues & gums are checked for any signs of oral cancer.
- Gum disease evaluation: The gums & bone around the teeth are checked for signs of gingivitis or periodontal disease. These signs include: red & swollen gums, bleeding gums, persistent bad breath, loose teeth, pus around the teeth & gums, tenderness or pain, & receding gums. The periodontal pockets are also measured.
- Examination for tooth decay: All tooth surfaces are checked for dental caries & evaluated for potential risk of decay.
- Examination of existing restorations: All current fillings, veneers, crowns, etc. are evaluated for proper contour & fit, & checked for fractures, recurrent decay & discoloration.
- Evaluate occlusion: The way the teeth bite together is checked for excessive wear or chipping, grinding & clenching habits, loose or mobile teeth, & temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
- Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is the calcified plaque that builds up, becoming firmly attached to the teeth over time. Special dental instruments are used to remove it.
- Removal of bacterial plaque: Plaque is the sticky colony of bacteria, food debris & saliva known as a biofilm that rapidly grows on & between the teeth. The bacteria produce acids that dissolve minerals out of the tooth surface, leading to decay. They also produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums. This inflammatory process is the start of gingivitis & periodontal disease.
- Teeth polishing: This helps to remove stains & plaque on the tooth surfaces.
- Oral-Hygiene recommendations: Home care is reviewed & oral hygiene aids (electric toothbrushes, special cleaning aids, mouth rinses, fluorides, etc.) are recommended as needed to establish & maintain effective dental hygiene habits.
- Review dietary habits: Eating disorders & habits may be detrimental to your dental health.