Has it been a while since your last dental visit? If so, you might not know what to expect when you sit down in the dentist's chair for your cleaning and examination. If you are feeling a little nervous about this, you might feel better by learning what to expect during this visit. A dental visit is something you should attend every six months, and all dental visits include some of the following steps.
You might not need x-rays at every visit, but you should consider getting them at least once a year. X-rays tell dentists a lot of information about your teeth, jawbone, and gums, revealing things that dentists cannot see when they look inside your mouth. Getting x-rays is not painful, but it may feel slightly awkward, depending on the type. Your dentist may also suggest taking a panoramic x-ray of your mouth every five years to see the entire thing in one picture. You do not have to get this completed, but it is helpful to get every five years or so.
Removal of Plaque
After taking x-rays, the dentist will begin working on removing the plaque from your teeth. Plaque is sticky and harmful to your teeth and gums. Removing it involves scraping it off your teeth. While the scraping may feel slightly uncomfortable, it does not hurt. Removing it helps you protect your teeth from the devastating effects of plaque. You can remove some of it yourself through brushing or flossing, but it is hard to remove all of it.
Polishing and Flossing Your Teeth
Next, the dentist may apply a gritty toothpaste product to your teeth and scrub it with a polishing tool. This process helps remove any plaque that the dentist missed and it cleans your teeth. Your dentist will also floss your teeth. Flossing helps remove trapped food and plaque found between your teeth.
You can choose to get a fluoride treatment if you want, but you do not have to get it. Your dentist will recommend it for one main reason. Exposing your teeth to fluoride is the only way to rebuild enamel on your teeth. Enamel is a protective substance that your teeth naturally have. The problem is that you can lose this substance as you age. When you lose enamel, your teeth have a higher risk of developing cavities and other problems.
Another step that your dentist may perform is gum measurement. If you have never had this done before, you might wonder what it is. Gum measurement is a process that dentists use to detect gum disease at its inception. The dentist measures the gums to see how deep the pockets are. Dentists like to do this at least once a year to monitor the progression of gum tissue loss.
You should not be surprised if the dentist also completes a cancer screening on you. The purpose of this screening is to detect signs of oral cancer. Your dentist may feel your neck and look under your tongue during this screening. If he or she sees anything suspicious, the dentist will refer you to an oral surgeon or doctor to have it checked.
Evaluation of Your Oral State
Finally, the dentist will evaluate your teeth and mouth to determine the overall condition of your oral state. The purpose of this is to offer you suggestions for issues you might have and to discuss potential risks the dentist sees.
Are you ready to get your teeth examined and cleaned? If so, set up an appointment with a dentist near you for a dental cleaning today.