When it comes to maintaining a healthy mouth, prevention and early detection are extremely important. While diligent brushing and flossing are crucial to a healthy mouth, twice a year dental visits are needed in order to receive a thorough cleaning by a dental hygienist and a comprehensive exam by a dentist. Routine cleaning appointments begin with check-up x-rays that allow the dentist and hygienist to assess for cavities, infection, or bone loss. A periodontal assessment is then completed to determine if the gums are healthy, showing signs of gingivitis, or showing signs of more advanced gum disease. Scaling to remove plaque and tartar deposits is next, followed by a polish to remove any superficial staining. After each cleaning, a fluoride treatment is offered to all patients regardless of age; fluoride aids in preventing cavities, preventing sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks, and preventing tooth fracturing. The dental appointment concludes with a comprehensive exam by the dentist where any current or potential issues are identified and a treatment plan is developed to give you the best care possible. A complimentary oral cancer screening is completed by the dentist to check for any indications of possible oral cancer.
While the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends patients with healthy gums or mild gingivitis visit the dentist for a cleaning twice a year, some patients may require more frequent cleanings. Factors such as extent of gum disease, accumulation of tartar, diabetes, smoking may indicate the need for periodontal treatment or more regular dental visits.