Cleaning & Check Ups
Checkups and Cleaning
A comprehensive dental examination will be performed by your dentist at your initial dental visit. At regular check-up examinations, your dentist will include the following:
- Examination of diagnostic X-rays (radiographs): Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
- Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
- Gum disease evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
- Examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
- Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.
Importance of Regular Check ups
Regular check-ups are necessary even when your teeth are in good condition. Providing regular care for your teeth is important to prevent dental problems that would require treatments such as tooth extraction or root canal therapy in the future. A regular dental examination can also expose other non-dental conditions such as HIV, osteoporosis, cancer and even diabetes. Signs of iron and vitamin deficiencies can also be detected during a dental check-up.
How frequently are dental check-ups required?
After your first dental check-up, your dentist will recommend a date for your next visit. For most, it is recommended to have a dental check-up and tooth cleaning twice a year. You may require more frequent check-ups if you have a weakened immune system, plaque build-up, cavities or gum disease. A twice-yearly check-up has the advantage of checking for non-visible dental problems, early signs of decay and other oral health issues, so that early intervention can be initiated before the problem worsens.
What can you expect at a regular dental check-up?
Your dentist will first check the oral soft tissues for lesions or ulcers. Your teeth will then be examined for problems such as broken fillings or cavities. Each tooth and the surrounding gums will be evaluated thoroughly and charted. Your dentist will enquire about your methods of oral hygiene and discuss the importance of regular flossing. If required, an X-ray of a particular tooth or a complete view of the top and bottom jaws may be taken to check for any problems with wisdom teeth, gum disease, jaw trauma or hidden decay between the teeth. Your dental hygienist will clean your teeth to remove the hardened plaque (calculus or tartar). You may also be instructed about proper diet, interventions to address dry mouth or bad breath, correct brushing technique, flossing and improving your dental hygiene. If severe problems are detected during the check-up, associated treatment options will be explained thoroughly to you.
Dental check-ups for children
Dental problems in children can include missing, crooked and crowded teeth, poor dental hygiene and improper diet. Your dentist will evaluate your child’s condition and make appropriate recommendations. For children who play sports, a mouth guard may be recommended to prevent tooth damage. For the deep areas of the teeth which cannot be easily cleaned with a toothbrush or mouthwash, your dentist may recommend placing fissure sealants (small plastic fillings). All conditions and treatment options will be thoroughly explained to you prior to initiating the treatment plan. We strive to make all children as comfortable and relaxed as possible during these procedures.
After the dental examination, your dentist will discuss any treatments you need based on the evaluation and condition of your teeth. If you have concerns about the appearance of your teeth, feel free to discuss the various options available to address this. From teeth whitening to porcelain veneers, your dentist will be able to explain your options and answer any questions or concerns you may have. If you are visiting the dentist for the first time, you will need to provide information about your complete medical history and current medications so that your dentist can get an overall idea about your general health. You should inform your dentist about your current dental health and any symptoms you may be experiencing lately. Please also discuss any fears or anxiety you may have so your dentist can help to minimize your pain, ease your fears and make you feel more comfortable during the dental check-up.
Professional Dental Cleaning
Professional dental cleaning (dental prophylaxis) is performed to accurately assess your teeth, existing restorations and gums, and facilitate correct diagnosis and further treatment plans. Your cleaning appointment will include a dental examination and the following:
- Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
- Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of a periodontal disease.
- Teeth polishing: Removal of stains and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling
- Topical fluoride to strengthen teeth and reduce bacterial count
- Gum disease evaluation for any signs of gingivitis or periodontal disease