Reasons for a Check-Up
In addition to proper oral hygiene, regular dental check-ups can do wonders to help you maintain a healthy, beautiful smile. Even people who brush two to three times a day and floss daily should visit the dentist every six months, or twice a year. Sometimes cavities and periodontal disease do not exhibit symptoms until serious damage has been done to your tooth. Routine check-ups allow the opportunity for your dentist to detect any signs of tooth decay or damage. Discovering any potential threats to your teeth can mean the difference in getting a minor filling and undergoing complicated oral surgery.
In addition, recent advances in medical and dental research have shown that unhealthy gums can lead to an increase in risk for heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and cancer. An increasing number of cardiologists and surgeons also require their patients to be free from periodontal disease prior to surgery.
Other risks involved with poor oral hygiene are:
- Plaque buildup around your gum line and bases of your teeth, which can cause gums to become more inflamed
- Tooth decay and gum disease associated with plaque buildup
- Risk of delivering low birth weight infants which can lead to developmental complications and other abnormalities
- Bad breath and tooth discoloration
- Increased risk of respiratory diseases from plaque traveling from your mouth to your lungs
During a regular check-up your dentist will use several methods to thoroughly examine your teeth, checking for decay, gum disease, fractures, or any other potential complications. You will also receive professional teeth cleaning to polish and brighten your smile while removing any plaque buildup.
“We just started coming here to Sunrise Family Dentistry and we have had a great experience from the start. Stephanie scheduled us quickly and received us with a friendly smile. My kids thought we had met befrore because of my comfort level. They were surprised it was my first time here too. They also mentioned that they enjoyed their appointments and that everyone was friendly.” -The Spencer family
During the visual examination your dentist will be thoroughly scanning the surface of your teeth, checking for decay, cracks, and other tell-tale signs that may be indicative of a more serious problem:
- An intraoral camera will be used with magnification capabilities to see all the surface areas of your mouth
- Aside from the teeth themselves, your dentist will check the roof and floor of your mouth for growths or sores as well as your tongue, lips, gums, and mucous membranes that line your cheeks and gums
- The lymph nodes of your head, jaw and neck will be examined for pain, tenderness and flexibility
X-Rays & Imaging
There are certain problems that do not exhibit symptoms on the surface of your teeth and gums. For any internal threats x-rays and three dimensional imaging is used:
- X-rays get below the surface of your tooth, providing your dentist with images of cavities and decay internally
- Modern day technology provides us the ability to examine your teeth with x-rays that emit a significant lower amount of radiation that in the past
- 3-D Imaging allows us to determine the precise position and shape for every tooth
- With 3-D imaging, progress and development on new and old dental treatment plans can be monitored and assessed
Gingival Pocket Exam
Healthy gums are an integral part of having a healthy smile. A gingival pocket exam will help detect any presence or possibility of gum disease.
- Food debris and plaque tend to collect inside the gingival pocket of gum tissue that each tooth sits on
- Harmful bacteria can penetrate the gum line and deepen gingival pockets if food debris and plaque are not removed due to bad oral hygiene
- The deeper the gingival pocket, the higher the risk of tooth damage and infection – which leads to gum disease
- During these exams a hand-held instrument is gently placed between the gums and the teeth to measure the depth of the pocket
Early detection of gum disease is important, as it can be reversible. However, gum disease can be present in the mouth without any pain, so it is possible to have gum disease without even knowing it.
- Using a tool called a scaler, your dentist will remove will remove tartar deposits from your teeth by gently scraping them. If there are only a few small spots of hard calculus, your dentist will use a manual scaler.
- If necessary, an ultrasonic scaler can also be used to remove tartar. This device emits a gentle vibration and a steady stream of water to break up larger pieces of tartar and flush away the particles
- After all tartar is removed, your dentist will polish all your tooth surfaces with a slightly abrasive paste. This will remove all minor stains on the enamel and will create a smooth surface on your teeth that will be less likely to attract plaque and bacteria.
- In certain cases your dentist will recommend a fluoride treatment after cleaning. Fluoride comes as a rinse, gel, foam or varnish. It is a mineral that helps strengthen the outermost layer of the teeth and can help resist acid attack that leads to tooth decay
Throughout the process of examining and cleaning your teeth, your comfort is the number one priority, and because of state of the art dental technology the process is painless and simple.