Do you ever wonder why dentists are constantly reminding you to schedule your check-ups and cleanings every six months? It may seem obvious, but the answer is important: Your oral health – which is tied to your overall health – depends on them.
Cavities, plaque, bacteria, tartar, gum disease and even oral cancers are the kinds of things dentists and hygienists will look for when they examine your teeth and gums. All of the above can cause serious problems in your mouth, which in turn could cause complications in other parts of your body.
How will your dentist evaluate you for potential problems?
Your appointment will consist of these components:
- A dental exam: The dentist or hygienist will look for cavities and might even take X-rays to check for cavities that are in between your teeth. They’ll also examine your gums using a special tool to see how much space is between your teeth and gums. That’s an indicator of whether you have gum disease: the shallower the gap, the healthier the gums.
- The dental professionals will also feel your tongue, throat, face, head and neck to look for any warning signs of cancer or other problems.
- Cleaning: A professional teeth cleaning involves special tools used to remove tartar from your teeth, something you can’t do at home with only a toothbrush. The act of removing the tartar with the tool is called scaling.
- After cleaning, your hygienist might also polish your teeth using a gritty paste that will likely feel and taste awkward. It will help to remove surface stains from your pearly whites.
- Your cleaning will usually end with a floss.
What should you do between dental check-ups?
If you find dental check-ups and cleanings uncomfortable, the best way to minimize your time in the dental chair is to take care of your teeth and gums in between visits. You can do this by:
- Brushing at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Flossing your teeth every day.
- Use a dentist-approved mouthwash to flush out bacteria. Bonus: Your breath will smell better, too!
Now that you know why dental check-ups are so crucial for a healthy smile, what are you waiting for? Contact Dr. Tim Chauvin’s office today to schedule your next visit.