Preventing dental disease starts at home with good oral hygiene and a balanced diet. It is continued in the dental office by the efforts of your dentist and dental hygienist to promote, restore and maintain your oral health. Prevention includes regular dental exams, cleanings, and x-rays. Prevention helps avoid serious and costly dental problems and is the key to having a healthy, confident, beautiful smile.
A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by your dentist at your initial dental visit. At regular check-up exams, your visit with the dentist and hygienist will include several things. We will examine your x-rays, which is important for detection of decay, tumors, cysts and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions. We will perform an oral cancer screening, which includes examination of the muscles and lymph nodes of the head and neck for any signs of swelling or tenderness. A visual inspection of the face, neck, lips tongue, throat, tissues and gums is performed for any signs of oral cancer. Gum disease evaluation includes checking the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease. We also do an examination of tooth decay and existing restorations. Additionally, all tooth surfaces will be checked for decay and existing fillings will be checked for signs of failure.
Professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis) are performed by a Registered Dental Hygienist. Your cleaning appointment will include a dental exam and the following:
1) Removal of calculus (tarter): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
2) Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease.
3) Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.
At the time of your visit, we will also go over the correct way to brush and floss your teeth. Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!