Preventing Problems Before They Start
The health of your teeth and mouth is very important to the well-being of your entire body, and while routine brushing and flossing at home is necessary to keep your smile looking its best, visiting your dentist for a comprehensive exam and cleaning is essential. The American Dental Association recommends that you visit your dentist at least every six months to ensure your teeth stay healthy and your smile stays beautiful.
By routinely seeing your dentist for exams and cleanings, you can:
- Prevent tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath
- Save money by avoiding costly and extensive dental procedures
- Keep your teeth white by reducing staining from food and drinks
- Shorten the time spent in your dentist's office
- Have a smile that will last a lifetime
During your initial exam, Dr. Donovan will thoroughly screen for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, oral cancer, jaw joint problems and other health concerns. He will need X-rays to see what is happening beneath the surface of your teeth and gums. In order to minimize the number of X-rays we will take, we will ask if you have current X-rays from your previous dentist. The X-ray images are crucial to help us see dental issues not visible to the naked eye. To keep your exposure to X-rays as low as possible we take only digital X-rays. These use less than 10% of the radiation used 20 years ago.
Our three dental hygienists have all worked in periodontal specialty offices. A periodontist is a dental specialist that treats advanced gum disease. So, be assured that Julie, Pete and Susan will be very thorough during your cleaning appointment to asses your condition and clean your teeth. We have also chosen them to join our team because they are gentle and desire to build long term relationships with their patients.
They will begin your cleaning by exploring the surface of your teeth to determine if you have any cavities and to examine the quality of existing fillings. The dental hygienist will then perform a periodontal exam to make sure your gums adhere tightly to your teeth, and no periodontal disease or bone loss may be occurring.
Next, your hygienist will carefully clean your teeth with a variety of tools to remove any hard mineral buildup (tartar) from your teeth. Then your hygienist will floss your teeth, use a polishing compound and, if needed, apply fluoride. Cleanings usually aren't painful, but if you have any anxiety about your dental appointment, be sure to let your hygienist know. They may offer several sedation options to ensure your comfort. If your dentist or hygienist finds tooth decay or gum disease, they will talk to you about changing your brushing or flossing habits. In severe cases, they may recommend antibiotics or other dental treatments. If your teeth and gums appear to be healthy, your dentist will probably recommend that you continue your brushing and flossing routine as usual.