During your initial visit, your dentist will give you a comprehensive exam. The dentist and hygienist assigned to you will make sure to:
Examine diagnostic x-rays (radiographs):
Necessary for finding decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. These x-rays are also used to diagnose developmental problems of teeth growing in.
Screen for oral cancer:
Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
Check for gum disease:
Examination of the gums and bone around the teeth to find any signs of periodontal disease.
Check for tooth decay:
Use of special dental instruments to test all tooth surfaces for decay.
Examine existing restorations:
Check current fillings, crowns, and other restorations.
PROFESSIONAL DENTAL CLEANING
One of our Registered Dental Hygienists or your dentist will perform a professional dental cleaning (dental prophylaxis) during your exam. The cleaning will involve:
- Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus comes from plaque build up that has hardened around the tooth. It forms both above and below the gum line, making the use of special dental instruments necessary to remove it from around the teeth.
- Removal of plaque: A sticky, almost invisible film, plaque is actually made up of living bacteria, food debris and saliva. When it forms on the teeth, the bacteria produces poisons that infect the gums, causing them to inflame. This inflammation is one of the first signs of periodontal disease.
- Teeth polishing: Through teeth polishing, your hygienist can remove stains and plaque that did not come off during the rest of the cleaning.
Used as a preventive, diagnostic tool, dental x-rays, or radiographs, provide your dentist with a look at what’s going on under the gum line. The information that these x-rays provide is used to detect any abnormalities that aren’t visible during the actual exam or cleaning. Without these x- rays, your dentist will not have a complete picture of your mouth, and many problems could go undetected for a long period of time.
Dental x-rays often reveal:
- Abscesses or cysts
- Bone loss
- Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors
- Decay between the teeth
- Developmental abnormalities
- Poor tooth and root positions
- Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line
X-rays help your dentist detect these dental problems at their earliest stages, which saves you time, money and pain in the long run!
ARE DENTAL X-RAYS SAFE?
Our everyday environment exposes us to natural radiation all the time. Dental x-rays from a full- mouth series emits the same level of radiation that a person receives on a daily basis from natural sources. The low-level of radiation emitted by dental x-rays is considered safe, but we still take precautions to minimize how much exposure our patients receive. Using lead apron shields to cover the patients’ bodies enable us to keep our patients’ radiation exposure at the lowest level possible. In addition, our state-of-the-art digital x-rays reduce exposure by up to 90 percent when compared to traditional film methods.
How often should dental x-rays be taken?
Based on your medical and dental history, as well as your age, risk for disease and current signs/symptoms, your dentist and hygienist will be able to recommend the best time frame for dental x-rays. In the end, the frequency of these x-rays will depend largely on your individual needs.
We recommend a full-mouth series of x-rays for all our new patients, so we have a better idea of their current dental health. The full-mouth series is typically good for three to five years. Bite- wing x-rays, on the other hand, should be taken once or twice a year during regular check ups.
The main goal of our team is to provide our patients with healthy, good-looking smiles that will last them a lifetime. Taking good care of your teeth at home goes a long way in achieving such a smile. Incorporating healthy meals into your diet, reducing the number of snacks you eat and brushing and flossing your teeth daily will all help reduce your chances of dental disease.
Tooth brushing – You should brush your teeth at least twice a day, especially right before you go to bed. In addition, an ADA-approved toothpaste and soft bristle tooth brush will make a difference in the effectiveness of your routine.
- When brushing your teeth, hold the tooth brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums. Use small, circular motions to brush your teeth and make sure you can feel the brush’s bristles on your gums.
- Make sure to brush the whole surface of each tooth – the outer and inner sides and the biting surface.
- To clean the inside of the front teeth, use the tip of your tooth brush
- Remove extra bacteria from your mouth by also brushing your tongue. This will also help freshen your breath.
- Electric tooth brushes are recommended, as they are the most effective in removing plaque while still being gentle on your gums and teeth. To use an electric tooth brush, put the bristles on your teeth and let the brush do the rest.
Daily flossing allows you to clean between the teeth and under the gum line, while at the same time preventing plaque build up and protecting your gums and teeth from the damage that plaque can cause.
- When you floss, use 12-16 inches (30-40 cm). Wrap the floss around your middle fingers and leave a couple inches between your hands.
- Guide the floss between your teeth with your thumbs and forefingers, using a back-and-forth motion.
- Curve the floss around each tooth and make sure to get under the gum line, gently moving the floss up and down along the side of the tooth.
- If you struggle with conventional floss, try using a floss holder.
Rinsing your mouth with water after brushing (and after meals if you don’t have a chance to brush) is another important step in home dental care. If you like to use an over-the- counter product for rinsing, you can talk with your dentist or hygienist to find out the best one for you.
Depending on your dental health, your dentist might recommend that you also use other dental aidsl, such as tongue cleaners, rubber tip stimulators, irrigation devices, interdental brushes, medicated rinses and fluoride.