Did you know that your oral health plays an important role in your overall health and wellbeing? Taking good care of your teeth and gums can help keep your whole body in a healthy state and reduce your risk of many serious health problems that can start in the mouth.
If you have an oral health problem such as gum disease and you don’t keep up with your regular dental check-ups, the problem could get significantly worse and even result in issues like tooth loss. Because your oral health is connected to your overall health, unaddressed dental disease is also linked to a heightened risk of complications like heart disease and oral cancer.
Going to the dentist twice a year is an important part of preventative dental care. We’ll carefully examine your teeth and gums, scale and polish your teeth and recommend any treatments you may need. We’ll also give you
- a full oral health assessment
- an oral cancer examination
- scaling and polishing your teeth to remove plaque
- a remineralisation treatment (i.e. fluoride) to help strengthen your teeth enamel
- advice on oral hygiene products and techniques, such as flossing and brushing
- an individualised oral homecare program developed specifically for your needs.
What Does a Check-up and Clean Involve?
The check-up component of your appointment allows your dentist to thoroughly assess your whole mouth, including your teeth, soft tissues, and jaw. During this time, they will also be on the lookout for any concerns, including signs of tooth decay, irregular bite, and more. If necessary, our dentist may also require oral photography or x-rays may be taken for diagnostic purposes.
Once our dentist has gained a comprehensive overview of your oral health, they will begin the cleaning component of your appointment. This simply involves cleaning and polishing your teeth before applying solutions (such as fluoride) to prevent decay.
Patients will also receive helpful advice about their oral health care habits, assisting them on their journey to optimal dental health. After all, effective oral care begins at home and a dedicated approach to the necessary routine is essential.
Our check-up and cleans serve a vital role in the detection, treatment and prevention of dental disease, including the most common of all – gum disease. Without the attention of an oral health care professional, gum disease can potentially cause tooth loss and the breakdown of existing dental work.
When you go to the dentist for a check-up and clean, your dentist will assess your teeth, gums and overall health of your mouth.
At Smile Makers Whitsundays, we recommend 6 monthly check-ups to stay on top of your dental health. Regular check-ups also help to detect diseases, abnormalities and early signs of decay.
In general, a check-up and clean will include:
To assess the overall health of your mouth and determine if any further work is needed
Cleaning of the teeth including a scale and polish to help remove stains, built-up plaque and tartar.
As standard practice, we usually take decay-view X-rays to check in between the teeth. Depending on your case and whether your dentist already has one on file, they may want to take another x-ray of your mouth. This is so they can get a better look of your teeth, jaw alignment, view decay between teeth and to monitor your teeth over time.
To strengthen the enamel of your teeth, fluoride may be applied to teeth to protect them against tooth decay.
How long does a dental check-up and clean take?
Depending on what treatment you need, a dental check-up and clean can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
For instances where you have no dental concerns and your teeth are in perfect shape, your dentist will just perform the clean, apply fluoride and you can be on your way within a few minutes.
In general, most routine patients will only need cleaning, scaling, polish and fluoride which can take around 20-30 minutes and then approximately every 2 years decay-view X-rays are updated.
Does the dentist need to know my medical history?
If you have not been to the dentist before or you are visiting a new dentist, they need to be aware of your medical history. If you have a history of gum disease, for example, your dentist may diagnose and provide different treatment options for your case. We require this to be updated approximately every 2 years.
It is also good practice to keep your dentist updated with any medication you are taking as some prescriptions can cause dry mouth. Dry mouth can facilitate the creation of cavities as bacteria (which eats away at enamel) is not regularly washed away by saliva.
At home dental care
After your check-up and clean your dentist may provide recommendations to improve your oral health care. Some suggestions might be brushing techniques, flossing, diet and nutrition, or smoking.
If you follow your dentists at home hygiene suggestions, you may reduce your chances of developing dental problems and you may maintain your natural teeth for longer.
Next steps / when is my next treatment?
Depending on the visit, your dentist might need you to come in for another appointment. This might be due to the need for a more complex treatment like fillings, crowns or bridges.
Alternatively, your dentist may also refer you onto a specialist if you need specialised treatment like Oral Surgery, Orthodontics (braces, Invisalign), Endodontics (treatment of the nerves and tissues inside tooth), or Periodontists (treatment of gums).
If no further treatment is required, your next visit to the dentist will be in six months to see how your oral health is coming along.