There is a common misconception that simply brushing and flossing your teeth every day is enough to maintain good oral health. Yes, doing each of these is very important and will help prevent the need for dental treatment.
However, having a dental check-up at least once every six months is highly recommended. In some cases, it might be necessary to have more frequent visits.
What can you expect from a dental check-up?
A dental check-up is carried out by a fully trained and qualified dentist or dental hygienist. During the check-up, you can expect to receive one or more of the following standard treatments.
1. A thorough examination - Prior to initiating any physical treatment, the dentist will first give you a thorough oral examination. As you might imagine, the purpose of this is to look for any issues or problems that might have arisen. Such issues they are looking for include, but are not limited to, gum disease, cavities and possible signs or oral cancer.
In order to properly test your oral health, they may need to use some simple tools, such as a mouth mirror, explorer tool and other special probes. These are unlikely to cause much physical discomfort, but your dentist will advise you of any issues that may have arisen during this examination and then refer you elsewhere or treat you accordingly.
2. A clean and polish - The purpose of this is to remove the build-up of excess tartar from your teeth. The dentist will do so with a hand scaler or some other type of ultrasonic dental instrument. In order to polish the teeth, they will then use some sort of rotating rubber brush. This removes any excess plaque and stains.
3. X-rays - X-rays are used as a means to gain a deeper insight into the health of your teeth and gums. They can detect hidden problems, such as gum disease or decay and are fairly routine. However, it is important to not have these too often as you are exposed to a small amount of radiation.
4. Education on oral health - If any issues were detected during your dental check-up, then the dentist will inform you of this and give you advice on how to better care for your teeth. This might mean showing you simple tasks, such as how to brush or floss more effectively.
Comprehensive dental check-ups
It may be necessary for you, on occasion, to have a more thorough check-up with your dentist. These will usually occur the first time you see a dentist, at then at predetermined periods in the future. Key aspects of a comprehensive check-up include:
- An in-depth discussion of your medical history
- An examination of your neck, head and mouth
- A series of important x-rays
Professional teeth cleans usually occur twice a year, with any necessary x-rays often carried out just once a year. Other exams might also be necessary, depending on your oral health. For example, if your child is receiving the check-up then they may recommend molar sealants, which can help to prevent cavities in areas that are hard to brush.
Whether or not you need treatment, it is important that you maintain regular dental check-ups every year.
These regular professional cleaning sessions can help to prevent any major problems from arising. Following each appointment, your dentist will discuss with you their findings and make any suitable recommendations.
They may ask you to alter certain aspects of your daily routine so as to take better care of your teeth. Such as brushing more frequently, eating and drinking different things and smoking less.