Preventing Oral Health Problems through Dental Exams and Cleanings

Preventing Oral Health Problems through Dental Exams and Cleanings

Oct 12, 2021

A dental exam, also known as a dental checkup, is an examination of your teeth and gums performed by a dentist or a dental hygienist. Dental checkups are important since they help find periodontal disease, tooth decay, and other oral health issues early.

They also help educate the patients on proper teeth and gum care. These oral exams are done every six months or sooner, according to your dentist’s recommendations. They should begin when a child turns one and continue into senior adulthood. For example, a dental exam by the dentist in Bristol, CT, includes cleaning, x-rays, and a checkup.

Common Procedures during Dental Exams and Cleanings

    1. Dental Cleaning

When bacteria found in the mouth grow, dental issues like gum disease and tooth decay are inevitable. Professional teeth cleaning gets rid of bacteria that remain even after we brush and floss daily. A deep cleaning by the dentist in Bristol, CT, involves polishing, flossing, rinsing, and fluoride treatment. Apart from removing all bacteria, this procedure includes teeth plaque removal, teeth stain removal, and teeth scaling.

There are four types of dental cleaning.

      1. Periodontal Maintenance

These are cleanings designed to treat gum disease. Excess plaque and tartar are removed from the tooth surface and gum pockets to prevent gum disease.

      1. Dental Prophylaxis

This is cleaning healthy teeth to prevent gum disease and tooth decay in them. A dental scaler or a water stream is used to remove plaque and tartar from the back, front, and sides of your teeth.

      1. Scaling and Root Planing

They are also known as deep cleanings performed on the teeth and gum pockets to treat periodontitis and gingivitis. Teeth scaling removes tartar and plaque from the tooth’s surface and below the gum line and helps reduce gum inflammation.

Root planing helps gums reattach to teeth and get rid of gum pockets by smoothing the tooth roots. This type of cleaning also helps in teeth stain removal.

      1. Gross Debridement

This is intense teeth cleaning to remove large amounts of plaque and tartar that have hardened over time. After teeth plaque removal, prophylaxis cleaning is done to clean the tooth further.

    1. Dental X-Ray

Dental x-rays are not taken during every exam, but when your dentist feels there’s a need to check the parts of the teeth not visible to the naked eye. They help the dentist identify problems such as cavities, impacted teeth, and tooth decay. Different dental x-rays may be taken during dental exams and cleaning in Bristol, CT. Some of them are:

      1. Full Mouth Series

They are taken once every few years to check the overall oral health.

      1. Occlusal X-Rays

These are done with your jaw closed to help detect anatomical abnormalities with the palate or floor of the mouth.

      1. Panoramic X-Rays

The machine that takes the images rotates around your head to check for wisdom teeth or jaw problems.

      1. Bitewing X-Rays

These are intraoral x-rays often taken to check for cavities between teeth. You bite down on a special piece of paper that allows your dentist to see how your teeth’s crowns match up.

    1. Dental Checkup

During your routine dental checkup, the dentist will:

      • Examine your gums and teeth to see if they are healthy.
      • Check your bite to see whether you have bad bites.
      • Review your x-rays for problems such as cavities.
      • Feel under your jaw, check the insides of your lips, the sides of your tongue, and on the roof and floor of the mouth to check for oral cancer.
      • Discuss overall oral health and habits.
      • Recommend additional dental work that may be needed.

Benefits of Dental Exams

      1. The dentist looks for any signs of tooth decay and cavities before spreading to the root and infects the tooth pulp. An infected pulp has painful symptoms and may require endodontic treatment.
      2. Oral cancer can be detected and diagnosed during routine checkups. When detected early, mouth and throat cancer patients have a high survival chance.
      3. Gum disease can be detected early and treated, therefore, avoiding issues such as tooth loss.
      4. Other dental health problems and medical conditions can be detected during a dental exam. Some of these are halitosis, lung problems, cardiovascular problems, and diabetes.

Benefits of Dental Cleanings

    1. It stops the advancement of gum disease.
    2. Removes stains that are on the surface of the tooth.
    3. Fights bad breath caused by gum disease.
    4. Prevents tooth loss.
    5. Promotes healthy gums by treating infections and promoting healing.
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