Checkups & Cleanings
When all is well with our dental health, it can seem inconvenient to participate in the recommended regimen of checkups and cleanings. But assuming that no news is good news where it comes to your dental health can do you a disservice in the long run! Teeth that are free from signs of tartar and decay and can comfortably consume foods of various temperatures may sound like all you need, but your dentist is an advocate for routine checkups and cleaning for very good reasons.
Why Do We Do Checkups?
Since not all dental concerns are symptomatic, dental check-ups are your best insurance policy against potential dental issues. Dental checkups have been responsible for the early detection of a multitude of health concerns, including things like cancer. Using their skills, training and tools, dentists are able to assess the health of the soft tissues in your mouth. Problems that are developing under the surface can be seen with special lights and the lymph nodes can be assessed to check for concerns.
Concerns such as microfracturing of the enamel can be assessed and mitigated before headaches and other symptoms associated with the temporomandibular issues begin to worsen. Appliances can be prescribed, and teeth can be saved the long-term effects of nightly clenching or grinding. We also check your bite and, particularly in children, assess the progression of new teeth emerging. Often where there are concerns of crowding or other constraints that could prevent the successful eruption and alignment of teeth, this provides an opportunity to plan to monitor or intervene in order to reduce the risk of issues later on. X-rays may be taken to assess what is going on under the surface, too. Potential concerns can be monitored, and progression can be measured through periodic assessment and documentation.
Why Do We Do Cleanings?
If you are a rock star where it comes to your oral health, you might think that skipping dental cleanings is no big deal. In fact, the opposite is true. All teeth accumulate small amounts of tartar over time, due to the natural interaction of food and bacteria in our mouths. Regular cleanings ensure that this buildup is kept in check, and not allowed to progress. That means that your brushing and flossing becomes more effective because you aren’t fighting with things such as gingivitis or tartar staining while trying to keep your teeth happy and healthy.
Since oral health problems can have a cascading effect, it is important to see your dentist to clean your teeth regularly. Patients taking certain types of medications may see negative effects on their oral health, such as dry mouth, which can lead to increased risk of decay.
Other health concerns such as diabetes can have a negative impact on the ability to control the onset or progression of gingivitis and gum disease, so partnering with your dentist for routine cleaning is the best way to protect yourself from the onset of plaque and tartar-related concerns. A professional cleaning will remove buildup from your teeth and, in the process, will identify signs of gum recession or gingivitis which can then be discussed with your dentist.
Who Performs the Checkup and Cleaning?
Your checkup will be performed by a general dentist and, following a discussion and debrief, will be handed over to a trained dental hygienist for cleaning. Dental cleanings are performed by a trained professional in part because once plaque has hardened into tartar, there is no enamel-safe method for removing it at home. Try as you might, neither your toothbrush nor your mouthwash has the ability to effectively remove tartar, and amateur attempts to remove it could result in harm to the enamel or gum tissue. The process of scraping tartar away from the teeth is referred to as ‘scaling’. After your scaling, your teeth will be polished using a gentle abrasive which restores the appearance of the teeth since surface staining can be removed. You may be offered a fluoride treatment, in which case you will be asked not to eat or drink for 30 minutes following the treatment.
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What Should I Do Between Cleanings?
Once you’ve had your checkup and cleaning, you will know what your dentist wants you to do between cleanings based on his or her findings. If you have been given a cavity-free seal of approval, your home routine will likely not change. You will continue to floss, brush and rinse the same way you have been. Where there are signs of concern, your dentist and/or hygienist will provide education and recommend changes in your routine. If, for example, your gums show sign of irritation when flossed, you will be educated about the technique to use when flossing your teeth and your dentist will make a note to check your progress at the next routine follow-up.
We love to help our clients minimize the potential for dental concerns by partnering with them in their preventative efforts. If you think it is time for your routine checkup and cleaning, call Griesbach Dental Centre in Edmonton today to book a session with one of our general dentists.