A dental check-up, also known as a dental examination or dental checkup, is a routine visit to your dentist that is typically recommended every six months. During this appointment, your dentist and dental hygienist will perform a variety of assessments and procedures to ensure the health of your teeth, gums, and overall oral cavity. Here's what you can generally expect during a dental check-up:
- Medical History Review: Your dentist will start by reviewing your medical history and any changes since your last visit. It's important to inform them of any new medications, health conditions, or concerns you might have.
- Visual Examination: Your dentist will visually inspect your entire mouth, including your teeth, gums, tongue, cheeks, and roof of your mouth, looking for signs of issues like cavities, gum disease, oral cancer, and other abnormalities.
- X-rays: Depending on your oral health history and the dentist's assessment, you might have dental X-rays taken. X-rays help identify hidden issues such as cavities between teeth, problems with tooth roots, and bone health.
- Teeth Cleaning: A dental hygienist will typically perform a professional teeth cleaning. This involves using specialized instruments to remove plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth and gums. They will also polish your teeth to remove surface stains.
- Gum Evaluation: Your dentist or hygienist will measure the depth of the spaces (periodontal pockets) between your teeth and gums to assess the health of your gums. Deeper pockets could indicate gum disease.
- Cavity Detection: Using instruments and visual inspection, your dentist will check for cavities or areas of tooth decay. They may also use a dental explorer to assess the integrity of tooth enamel.
- Oral Cancer Screening: Your dentist will examine your mouth, throat, and neck for signs of oral cancer. They will look for unusual growths, discolorations, or other abnormalities.
- Bite and Jaw Alignment: Your dentist will evaluate your bite and how your teeth come together. Issues with your bite can lead to problems like teeth grinding, jaw pain, and more.
- Discussion and Recommendations: After the examination, your dentist will discuss their findings with you. They'll recommend any necessary treatments, procedures, or changes in your oral care routine based on your oral health status.
- Preventive Advice: Your dentist or hygienist will provide guidance on proper brushing and flossing techniques, as well as suggestions for maintaining good oral health.
- Scheduling Follow-Up: If any treatments or further appointments are needed, your dentist will schedule them with you.
Remember that regular dental check-ups play a crucial role in maintaining your oral health. They help catch problems early, prevent issues from worsening, and provide valuable guidance on how to care for your teeth and gums.