Blog / Dental Health

What to Expect At Your Routine Dental Visit

February 24, 2016

Dental assistants in black shirts smiling at the front deskHave you been putting off scheduling your dentist appointment? If so, we are here to light a fire under you! Not literally, but we do want to stress how important routine dental visits are for both your oral hygiene and your overall health. Learn more about why these regular dental checkups are so critical.

What Is a Routine Dental Appointment and What Can I Expect at One?

When discussing routine dental appointments, we are specifically referring to those appointments you make as part of a regular checkup – not the ones you schedule for specific dental needs. At these regular checkups, you can expect that first, we will take a close look at your mouth to see if there have been any significant changes since your last visit, including any changes to your overall health or changes in medication. To help us with this, we may take x-rays so we can view what’s going on beneath the gum line and between the teeth. We will also be sure to ask if you are experiencing any soreness or sensitivity, and if so, we will determine the cause.

Next, we will begin the cleaning. We will remove any hard tartar that has formed on your teeth since your last visit and perform a comprehensive cleaning that includes polishing and flossing.

Lastly, we will complete a noninvasive screening to identify any cancerous or precancerous cells in your mouth. The importance of this cannot be overstated. Oral cancer tends to have poor health outcomes, mainly because of the lack of early detection. By visiting us routinely, you can significantly reduce your oral cancer-related risks.

How Often Should I Have a Dental Checkup?

For most people, visits every 6 months are fine, and that is the current recommendation of the American Dental Association. However, in some cases, we may recommend that you come in more or less frequently, depending on your specific dental issues.

Why Are Routine Dental Visits So Important?

There is only so much you can do at home with your toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss, even if you use them as recommended. Every mouth—yes, even a well-cared for one—is subject to tartar buildup, and unfortunately, brushing alone cannot remove it. The only way to take off tartar is to come in for a professional cleaning.

At a routine visit, we can look for signs of tooth decay and gum disease that can worsen if left untreated. Worsening symptoms can include cavities, bad breath, bleeding gums, and tooth extractions. In addition, gum disease is correlated with many serious non-oral diseases, including dementia, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, ulcers, and cancer.

Have we convinced you yet? If so, we hope that if you have not visited the dentist in a while that you will make an appointment today. If you are already visiting a dentist regularly, congratulations! You are doing one of the most important things you can do for your overall physical well-being!