Semiannual checkups with your dentist, along with professional cleanings by a dental hygienist, are the cornerstone of a healthy smile. Such preventive care goes far to reduce the presence of harmful oral bacteria and optimize your oral health.
Preventive care generally involves minimal, if any, discomfort and the benefits are tremendous. If you have not seen a dentist in the past six months, we encourage you to call our office and schedule an appointment to get back on track with your routine care.
What To Expect From Exams And Cleanings
Your check-up will begin with a thorough teeth cleaning by a dental hygienist. Even if you are conscientious about your oral hygiene regimen at home, you still need to have such cleanings, which remove any accumulation of plaque and tartar that develops despite your oral hygiene.
After your teeth have been cleaned, Dr. Nathanson will examine your teeth and gums, looking for signs of issues like periodontal disease or tooth decay. Additionally, Dr. Nathanson will inspect the soft oral tissues for symptoms that could indicate oral cancer, such as lumps, sores that do not heal or other aberrations.
Once each year, we will also take x-rays that we can review to identify any problems with the jaws or on areas of the teeth that are obscured from view.
Additional Preventive Treatments
In addition to exams and cleanings, patients may benefit from other preventive treatments, including:
A thin coating of protective material, such as specially designed plastic, is applied to susceptible surfaces of the teeth to prevent cavities.
Fluoride strengthens teeth, but we may not get enough of it, even if we drink fluoridated water. Fluoride treatments provided by your dentist can give your teeth a boost.
When a tooth is at risk for oral bacteria to reach its sensitive inner core, such as a broken tooth, a root canal can help to save the tooth. Whenever possible, this is preferable to extraction and replacement.
Importance Of Routine Dental Care In Oral Disease Prevention
When you see your dentist twice each year for exams and cleanings, you’ll be taking important steps to prevent oral diseases like cavities and gum disease. However, this is only one piece of the puzzle. Your oral hygiene habits at home are just as instrumental to your oral health.
A good oral hygiene practice may include the following:
- Brushing: Patients should brush twice each day, for two minutes each time.
- Flossing: Floss once each day, preferably immediately before brushing.
- Anti-bacterial mouthwash: Patients who have higher than average levels of plaque and tartar may benefit from adding an anti-bacterial mouthwash to their routine.
Your oral hygiene techniques and tools matter, too. Make sure that you are angling your brush at the gumline to interfere with plaque formation, for example. Also, take care to use a soft-bristled brush that is in good condition. Switch to a new brush every 3-4 months.
Don’t hesitate to ask one of our knowledgeable dental professionals any questions you may have about maintaining a healthy smile.