Dental checkups are essential in keeping your teeth, gums and mouth sparkling clean! While the procedure for checkups and cleans varies from dentist to dentist, the following are the standard steps you can expect during every visit.
The Dental Checkup
1. Dental History
Checkups start with routine questions regarding your dental history. If you’ve had the same dentist for a while, they may ask you if you have noticed any changes in your teeth/gums or if you have experienced any pain or discomfort since your last visit.
2. Examining Teeth, Gums and Mouth
Next, the dentist will perform a non-invasive examination inside your mouth. Using lights, mirrors and probe tools, they will search your teeth and gums looking for sores, cavities and any early signs of gum disease.
They may also examine your bite and look for problems with fillings, crowns or bridges. Your dentist may also take an x-ray of your teeth if you haven’t had one for around 2 years or if other problems are evident.
3. Teeth Charting
Ever heard a dentist recite numbers while they are poking around inside your mouth? This is called teeth charting! Teeth charting involves recording information about each tooth and its changes. By keeping track of the condition of your teeth, your dentist can make better recommendations for your long-term dental health.
4. Recommendations and Advice
Once the checkup is over, your dentist will discuss any problems needing treatment, such as cavities.
Depending on your dentist and on the severity of the issue, the dentist may fix the problem during the checkup and clean or they may advise you to make a follow-up appointment. Minor cavities, for instance, that only require a small, white filling, may be treated on the day.
The Dental Cleaning
After the checkup is complete, your dentist (or sometimes a dental hygienist) will clean your teeth using various instruments and tools. Professional cleaning will help prevent bad bacteria from thriving on your teeth and causing decay.
1. Removing Plaque and Tartar
The hygienist will use scraping tools to remove any built-up plaque and tartar that has hardened on your teeth. This is a gentle and tender process and should not cause you much discomfort. If you do feel any pain, however, be sure to alert your dentist straight away.
2. Cleaning & Flossing
Once the tartar and plaque are removed, the dentist will brush your teeth using a special electronic toothbrush and some dental toothpaste. This creates a nice smooth surface on your teeth that plaque and bacteria can’t easily penetrate. Your dentist will then floss your teeth to get into all the little crevices that your toothbrush can’t reach.
3. Fluoride Treatment
Fluoride treatment is the final stage of dental cleaning. Flouride is a natural mineral that strengthens your teeth, helping to prevent future cavities. It will be applied to your teeth for about 30 seconds; depending on the fluoride used, some dentists may ask you to spit and rinse, while others will ask you to leave the fluoride on your teeth for a short period of time (e.g. half hour).
Remember, a good dentist will generally provide a soft and comfortable clean, so there shouldn’t be any pain or major discomfort during cleaning. A great clean can also leave your mouth feeling fresh and healthy!
For optimal oral health you should visit your dentist twice a year for checkups and cleans. In the meantime, don’t forget to maintain the health of your teeth by brushing and flossing twice a day at home!
Our friendly dentists can provide gap-free checkups and cleans in the Macarthur and Camden areas. To book an appointment, contact us or phone 02 4648 0909.