You rely on teeth every day to speak, smile and eat. It’s a good idea to get them checked on a regular basis. Ask your dentist about a dental exam. A dental exam is a checkup of your teeth and gums. When done regularly, these exams can protect your oral health. Oral health problems can become serious and painful if not treated promptly.
Dental exams are usually performed by both a dentist and a dental hygienist. These exams are used to look for issues such as tooth decay and gum disease. When the dentist can catch these problems early on, they are easier to treat. These exams can also educate people on how to properly care for their teeth and gums.
Most people should get a dental exam every six months. If you have swollen, bleeding gums or gum disease, your dentist may want to see you more often. More frequent exams may help prevent periodontitis, which is a serious gum disease that can cause infection and tooth loss.
Babies should have their first dental appointment by 12 months of age. After that, they should get an exam every six months. More frequent visits may be needed if the dentist finds any oral health issue.
Regular dental exams are important for oral health as well as overall general health. Schedule yours today so you can stay healthy. Call Breeze Dental at (703) 273-5545.
A typical dental exam may include three parts: cleaning by a hygienist, a checkup of your mouth by the dentist and X-rays on certain visits.
During a cleaning, you will sit in a large chair. The hygienist will clean your teeth using small, metal dental tools. They will scrape your teeth to remove plaque and tartar. Plaque is a sticky film that coats your teeth with bacteria. If plaque builds up on teeth, it turns into a hard mineral deposit called tartar.
The hygienist will then floss your teeth. Next, they will brush your teeth using an electric toothbrush. They may also apply fluoride to your teeth. Fluoride helps prevents tooth decay, which can lead to cavities. Children are more likely to get fluoride treatments, although some adults might get them as well. The hygienist or dentist may show you proper brushing and flossing techniques if oral hygiene is an issue.
During the dentist’s checkup, the dentist will assess the health of your teeth and gums. They will check your bite and see how the top and bottom teeth fit together. He or she will also check for oral cancer. This includes feeling various areas of your mouth, such as under your jaw, the roof and floor of your mouth, the insides of your lips and the sides of your tongue. The dentist will also check your X-rays, if applicable.
Dental X-rays are typically done every 1-2 years. X-rays can give your dentist a better idea of what’s going on in your mouth. These images show cavities, gum disease, bone loss and other problems that cannot be easily seen in an oral exam.
During an X-ray, the hygienist will place a lead apron over your chest. This is used to protect the rest of your body from radiation. X-rays are generally very safe but are not recommended for pregnant women. Therefore, you should let your dentist know if you are pregnant.
Taking X-rays is fairly easy. You will bite down on a small piece of plastic. The hygienist will place a scanner outside your mouth and take a picture. You will repeat this process for other areas of your mouth.
If you have certain health conditions, you may need to take antibiotics before your exam. These conditions include heart problems, immune system disorders, and surgery.
Also, some people feel anxious about going to the dentist. If you or your child has anxiety, let the dentist know beforehand. They can give you sedatives during your appointment to help you relax.
To prepare for your dental exam, make sure you are engaging in healthy habits that will protect your teeth for many years. You need to take good care of your teeth and gums, and this starts by practicing good dental habits at home. Good home oral care includes the following steps:
Regular dental exams can keep your teeth happy and healthy for life. Give your teeth the care they deserve. The dentists at Breeze Dental can help you prevent serious oral health issues. Call our office at (703) 273-5545 to schedule an appointment for a cleaning and X-rays.