During the dental visit, the dentist will check teeth for any cavities. X-rays may be used to detect cavities in between teeth. An exam may be done to check plaque and tartar on the teeth.
Plaque is a type of bacteria that is clear and sticky. When not taken away, it can harden then become tartar, which cannot be removed by simply brushing or flossing. Plaque and tartar that build up on teeth can trigger oral diseases.
Then the dentist will check gums. This is usually done using a certain tool for measuring how deep the space is between teeth and gums. The spaces of healthy gums are shallow. The spaces are deeper on those with gum disease.
The throat, tongue, head, face and neck should also be carefully examined during the check-up. This could detect symptoms of serious dental problems like redness, swelling and even worse, cancer.
The dentist will also clean the teeth thoroughly. Though the plaque can be cleaned from teeth by brushing and flossing at home, tartar cannot be removed. Only a dental professional can remove tartar using special tools. This method is known as scaling. Scaling has the ability to remove plaque and tartar.
Once the teeth are scaled, the next step is polishing. Most often, the dentist uses a gritty paste. This helps remove surface stains left on teeth. The last step is flossing. The dental specialist will use floss to ensure that areas between teeth are clean.
What should people do between dental visits?
They should always take care of their teeth and gums. It is easy for plaque to form on teeth, but this can be managed by regular brushing and flossing. The following are some good oral care tips for home:
- Brush teeth twice daily. Make sure to use a toothpaste with fluoride.
- Floss everyday.
- Gargle mouthwash to control plaque bacteria. This will also help freshen breath.
Visits to the dentist are important since they help keep teeth and gums healthy. The two parts of a regular dental visit are:
- the check up
- the cleaning
Whenever the dentist checks your teeth, he/she also checks the overall oral health for any problem areas.
While cleaning the teeth, the dental specialist will get rid of plaque and tartar buildup and may even polish teeth.
A regular dental visit should be done at least twice yearly, or upon advice of the dentist.