What is a Dental Examination?
At your initial dental visit, a comprehensive exam will be performed by your dentist. The following will be done by the dentist and your dental hygienist at your routine visits:
Review of Diagnostic X-Rays: Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
Oral Cancer Screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
Periodontal Evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
Check for any Tooth Decay: All tooth surfaces will be examined for decay with special dental instruments.
Review of Existing Restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.
What is done in a Professional Dental Cleaning?
A Dental Prophylaxis, as you will hear it referred to, is usually preformed by a Registered Dental Hygienist. While generally recommended twice per year, depending on your Periodontal condition, some are best treated three to four times per year. Periodontal Disease is brought on by bacteria that colonizes beneath the gum line. Most common effects are irritation, inflammation and redness that are likely to turn into recession and bone loss if left untreated. Routine cleaning visits will include the following:
Elimination of Calculus: Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
Elimination of Plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease!
Professional Polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.
What are the benefits of Prophylaxis?
Facial Aesthetics: It’s hard to feel confident about a smile marred by yellowing, stained teeth. Prophylaxis can rid the teeth of unsightly stains and return the smile to its former glory.
Breath Improvement: Periodontal disease is often signified by persistent bad breath (halitosis). Bad breath is generally caused by a combination of rotting food particles below the gum line, possible gangrene stemming from gum infection, and periodontal problems. The removal of plaque, calculus and bacteria noticeably improves breath and alleviates irritation.
Discovery of Health Issues: Many health problems first present themselves to the dentist. Since prophylaxis involves a thorough examination of the entire oral cavity, the dentist is able to screen for oral cancer, evaluate the risk of periodontitis and often spot signs of medical problems like diabetes and kidney problems. Recommendations can also be provided for altering the home care regimen.