Visiting the dentist is not a one-and-done process. Like having the oil changed in your car, teeth also need regular care and maintenance that goes beyond brushing and flossing to prevent more serious oral health problems. The American Dental Association recommends patients schedule at least two checkups per year to ensure your dazzling smile stays that way.
Five Steps: What Happens During Your Dental Checkup?
1. Head, Neck and Mouth Examination
During this initial inspection, the dentist palpates the patient’s neck and jaw area, checking the health of lymph nodes and the temporomandibular joint (jaw). The dentist will also visually inspect these areas (as well as inside your mouth) for signs of cancer, such as discoloration or growths.
2. Dental Examination
During the dental examination, our dentist looks for visible signs of potential oral health problems, such as gum disease, cavities and broken teeth. The dentist will evaluate the health of your gums, tongue and teeth and inspect your bite, contact points between teeth, existing fillings and any oral appliances you might already have. The dentist might also have x-rays taken to reveal any internal concerns inside your teeth or below the gum line.
3. Discussion of Potential Concerns and Further Treatment
If any dental problems are found or cosmetic concerns are discussed, our dentist will then talk about treatment options with you.
4. Dental Cleaning
A dental hygienist then cleans your teeth with a professional scaling and polishing. This removes all plaque and tartar build up from the surface of your teeth. A regular professional cleaning is essential to maintaining oral health, as tartar build up is directly responsible for the development of gum (periodontal) disease.
5. Discussion of Oral Health Habits
Our hygienist and/or dentist will also discuss your oral health habits with you to help you improve the care of your teeth and oral health habits in between appointments. This includes brushing and flossing, as well as concerns like tobacco use, chewing ice and drinking coffee.
Schedule Your Regular Dental Exam Today
If it’s been a while since your last dental checkup, then it’s time to be proactive about your oral healthcare. For more information about our practice and services or to schedule a regular dental checkup, contact Dr. Christopher J. Fotinos today. We look forward to helping you preserve your oral health so you can always put your best smile forward.