The Importance of Routine Dental Checkups


General Article / Thursday, October 12th, 2017

The mouth is usually described as the ‘window’ into the health of the body. This statement means that oral health (which is the state of the gums and teeth) is related to the body’s overall health. It is important to maintain good oral hygiene in order to preserve the healthy state of the dentition. Most dentists recommend brushing twice a day, flossing, and regular visits to the dentist for general dental checkups. Dental checkups are routine dental visits done twice a year by general dental practitioners or family dentist durham nc.

What to Expect During a Dental Checkup

At the first dental visit, the family dentist can recommend a comprehensive dental examination. This involves answering a series of questions about any dental complaints as well as important medical and drug history or allergies. It is important, to be honest about any health problems like diabetes or hypertension. During a comprehensive dental examination, the dentist inspects the oral cavity as well as the head and neck for any sign of disease. This process is called an oral examination.

An oral examination involves checking the state of the teeth, mouth, and gums. The dentist uses bright light from the dental chair as well as hand instruments to check the oral cavity. These hand instruments include: Dental or periodontal probe: A periodontal probe is a dental instrument with a rounded tip which is inserted between the margins of the gum and teeth to check for dental pockets. Explorer: This hand instrument has a sharp tip. It is used to check the surfaces of the teeth for cavities. Mouth mirror: The mouth mirror is used to check the inner surfaces of the teeth. After the oral examination, the dentist may request for x-rays of the teeth or dental radiographs.

Dental radiographs: are x-rays of the teeth which are usually taken at dental visits. Periapical radiographs are small x-ray films of the tooth which can show problems with tooth decay or gum disease. Sometimes it may be necessary to take a complete dental x-ray of all the teeth. This can be a series of small periapical radiographs, or a larger kind of x-ray called a panoramic radiograph. The dentist uses these x-rays to diagnose any dental problems and recommend a plan of treatment. This usually involves oral health education and dental cleaning.

Scaling and Polishing

This is the process by which calculus and food debris or stains are removed from the tooth. This procedure is usually done by the dental hygienist who uses a special machine called an ultrasonic scaler to remove the debris. After the cleaning, the tooth is polished with a rotating rubber cup and prophylactic paste which removes the rest of the plaque.

Oral Health Education

The dentist or hygienist would also discuss any dental problems that were found during the oral health examination. He might discuss the treatment plans and also educate the patient on the proper tooth brushing techniques. In children, the dentist or hygienist may also provide dietary counseling.