Most people have heard of a dental exam and cleaning appointment. They realize that it is a routine dental visit that helps their teeth somehow. But what really happens during such an appointment? Let's look at what goes into a routine dental exam and cleaning and why it is so important in protecting your teeth and gums.
Dental exams and cleanings go beyond just helping you have nice teeth and an attractive smile. This type of routine appointment is a vital part of your dental care, combining with your oral hygiene habits at home as your first line of defense against tooth decay and gum disease.
Unless you have a specific concern, your dental exam will probably be conducted just prior to having your teeth cleaned. This is an opportunity for your dental hygienist to conduct a visual inspection of your teeth, mouth and gums. They are trained to spot any signs of trouble that you may not even be aware of yourself.
One important thing that your dental hygienist will be looking for is any signs of oral cancer. This really highlights the importance of dental examinations, because oral cancer is extremely curable when detected in its early stages.
If there are any reasons for concern detected by your dental hygienist during your dental exam, your dentist may be called in to take a closer look and recommend treatment if required.
In addition to cosmetic purposes, the main focus of a dental cleaning is to remove any plaque and tartar from your teeth and around your gums. Plaque is a sticky, virtually invisible biofilm that allows bacteria to thrive and potentially damage tooth enamel. Tartar is the hardened form of plaque. They can create an environment that irritates your gums, leading to periodontal disease. Commonly known as gum disease, periodontal disease can eventually cause the loss of your teeth. The best way to prevent it, besides regularly brushing and flossing at home, is to keep up with your dental cleaning appointments.
Periodontal Disease Symptoms
- Gums that bleed easily
- Formation of spaces between teeth
- Gums that are swollen and tender
- Receding gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Pain in the mouth
Gum disease may not be detectable when it is still known as gingivitis – the early form of periodontal disease. As it progresses, you may begin noticing tenderness, swelling or bleeding in your mouth. This is caused by the breakdown of gum tissue that can also harm the underlying bone retaining your teeth in place.
As gingivitis progresses, it can lead to an irreversible condition called periodontitis. At this point, you would need ongoing and expensive treatment that may include treatments like deep cleaning, surgery and medication. To avoid this, simply keep up with your regular dental exams and cleanings, as well as your oral hygiene efforts at home.
Schedule Your Appointment
If it has been awhile since your last dental exam and cleaning appointment, we strongly encourage you to contact our office today to get back on track with this routine, but vital, dental visit.