It’s a new year, and with a new year comes fresh starts and renewed commitments. If you’ve never been consistent with your dental hygiene routine, we want to encourage you to make that a priority this year!
While brushing and flossing are great habits to get into this year if you aren’t already doing them, the practice that often gets neglected is visiting your dentist for a routine checkup and cleaning twice a year. If you find yourself avoiding the dentist because of feelings of anxiety or nervousness, we’d like to try to assuage your fears by telling you exactly what you can expect during a routine dental visit.
One of the most important things that will happen during your routine dental visit will be to receive a thorough cleaning by a certified dental hygienist. This will involve the hygienist using a special tool called a scaler to remove plaque and tartar that build up below the gumline and on the surface of teeth. These instruments will remove germs that your regular toothbrush cannot and will help prevent cavities and gingivitis. After scraping away the tartar and plaque, your hygienist will polish your teeth using a special toothpaste that tastes and smells like regular toothpaste but has a grittier consistency so it can gently scrub your teeth. While this instrument is a bit noisy, the process is quick and painless and will leave your mouth feeling nice and clean.
After the cleaning, your hygienist will floss your teeth. Whether you floss every day or hardly at all, your hygienist will do this because she can get deep in between your teeth and will be able to identify any trouble areas in your gums. Flossing will also help remove any leftover plaque or toothpaste from the first part of the cleaning. Note that if you floss regularly, this part will be painless. However, if you haven’t been flossing, your gums may be more sensitive, and flossing could cause some discomfort. This is all the more reason to floss regularly!
If it’s been a while since you’ve had a routine dental visit, your dentist will probably recommend getting X-rays done of your teeth. Your dentist may decide you need X-rays of individual teeth, the spaces between your teeth, or a Panoramic X-ray that takes a radiograph of your entire mouth and jaws. These X-rays will give your dentist the ability to detect different issues in your teeth or jaw that aren’t able to be visualized during the physical examination. While it is recommended that you get your teeth cleaned twice a year, unless there is an issue, you will only need to get X-rays about once a year.
At the end of your appointment, the dentist will come and do a full examination of your teeth and gums. She will be checking for signs of disease, decay, and other potential problems. The dentist’s goal will be to identify issues early so that they do not become more serious. If the dental hygienist or dentist detect a problem, the dentist will be able to give you a treatment plan and answer any of your questions.
Routine dental visits play an important role in keeping your teeth clean and healthy, while also helping you identify issues before they become serious problems. We would love for you to visit us at Cornerstone Family Dentistry, so schedule your routine visit with us today!