Every dental office gets calls asking for an appointment. The caller says it is “just” for a cleaning. While a professional cleaning is vital there is more that goes on at that visit than just the cleaning. Do you know the steps involved for a routine visit and why your dentist or hygienist performs them? Read below to find out…
The 6 Month Visit
–Review Medical History. Study after study has shown that there is a direct connection between our oral health and our general health. Regularly updating your medical history will keep us up to date to any changes that may be occuring for you. This allows the dental team to make the necessary adjustments to your treatment. Some of these changes could include changes in medications, recent surgeries, or even changes in your vitamin regimen. What may seem trivial to you could have definite implications to your dental treatment.
–Radiographs. Not ever dental hygiene visit will include dental x-rays. For most they are recommended to be taken once a year. Dental x-rays give the dentist and hygienist and window into the your dental health. Tooth decay, periodontal disease, and tumors can be detected using x-rays.
–Dental Hygiene Examination. This includes examining your glands, periodontal tissues, lips, and tongue to ensure everything looks as it should. Routinely, your hygienist will perform a periodontal screening which includes checking around each individual tooth for the presence of bone loss. When bone loss is present they are called periodontal pockets. Periodontal pockets become dangerous because it becomes much harder to be cleaned properly through at home methods. Deeper pockets may require different treatment to bring it under control.
–Teeth Scaling And Polish. This should include using both ultrasonic instruments as well as hand instruments. The ultrasonic instruments are used to debride and remove debris above the gum line. While hand instruments are used to attack areas below the gum line to ensure all the plaque and tartar are effectively removed. Stains can also be removed using these instruments. And finally, your hygienist will polish your teeth to make them smooth and shiny.
–Dental Examination. During this examination your dentist will discuss with the hygienist anything that they may have found during their examination. This is important because the dentist can then pay particular attention to certain areas to ensure the proper treatment plan is developed. A thorough examination will be completed including an oral cancer screening using a Velscope, and a thorough check of your teeth along with a review of any x-rays. Following the examination, your dentist will discuss with you if any treatment is needed.
–Patient Education. An educated patient makes the best choices for his/her dental care. Therefore this part is just as important as any other part. Your dentist or hygienist might use visual aids, like a disclosing solution, to show areas that you may need work to on at home. Demonstrations of proper flossing and brushing technique may also be shown at this time.
Making time for the dentist is critical to your dental and overall health. There are lots of moving parts to your dental care including in office and at home care. A good dental team can lead you down a path to good dental health for life.