Prevention and early detection are the key to avoiding tooth decay and gum disease. Regular dental exams by your dentist and regular dental cleanings performed by a registered dental hygienist are crucial parts to your overall dental health. Prevention starts with controlling plaque, a colorless bacteria that sticks to the surface of your teeth, and calculus, a harder mineral deposit. These are the main sources of decay and periodontal disease. By removing plaque and tartar, your oral health is enhanced and your risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease are reduced. Your dental hygienist will utilize manual instruments to remove moderate plaque and tartar buildup, or an ultrasonic device to scale away heavier buildup. The cleaning is finished with polishing, a pleasant procedure that cleans the surface of teeth, removes stains, and leaves the mouth feeling clean and refreshed.
No matter how diligent you are in your home dental care regimen, you should still get a dental exam and cleaning at least twice per year. Regular checkups are essential for early detection of more serious problems. Early detection make treatment easier, less expensive and more successful. During your exam your dentist will perform the following:
- Assess gum health.
- Diagnose any existing tooth decay.
- Take digital x-rays and analyze them for decay, bone loss, abscesses, tumors, cysts, and other problems.
- Screen for the presence of oral cancer.
- Check the stability of existing fillings and other restorations.
- Inform you of all findings and make treatment recommendations.