Although we should all have regular dental check-ups (once every 6 months), some of us are skittish about going to the dentist. Let us assume, for argument’s sake, that you haven’t been to the dentist at Ironwood Dental for some time and are rather nervous about your upcoming dental appointment; what can you expect from a dental check-up?
Gone are the days when a visit to the dentist was cause for alarm. Advances in dental techniques and equipment have gone a long way in changing the face of modern dentistry. Modern dentistry is far more concerned with the elimination of pain and stress, and the patient’s general wellbeing, than was possible in days of yore when the drill was operated by a foot pump.
The Dental Check-Up
The first step, especially if this is your first visit to a new dentist, is an enquiry into your general state of health and any particular concerns or problems you might be experiencing with your teeth. It is advisable to take along a list of any medication or supplements that you are currently taking, to show your dentist.
Next step would be a thorough cleaning. During the cleaning process, the dentist will remove all plaque and tartar that has accumulated in your mouth. The dentist will probably also floss your teeth and polish your teeth using a motorised brush and abrasive paste; this will leave your teeth shiny and smooth. The brushing will also make it more difficult for the plaque to re-adhere to your teeth.
Step 3 is a thorough examination of your mouth. The dentist will look carefully between and behind your teeth and will check for tooth enamel softening. The dentist will also check for any redness, swelling or sores in your oral cavity; he will also examine the periodontal pockets along your gum line. These pockets should ideally not be too deep. If they are, it’s a sign of gum disease.
Step 4 is going to be the taking of x-rays to see if there are any hidden problems. The x-rays will show the visible part of your teeth as well as the root below the gum line and your jaw bone. The dentist is looking for any loss of bone or fractures, as well as problems with your bite or jaw alignment. Many serious problems can be picked up through dental x-rays.
The final step is to start any treatment that the dentist thinks necessary. If the procedure is simple enough, like a minor filling, it will probably be done straight away. For more complicated procedures follow-up appointments will be scheduled. The dentist will also give you sound advice about brushing and flossing techniques, diet and any other issues he has picked up during the examination.
As you can see, a visit to the dentist is not what it used to be. With the improvement of modern dental techniques, much of the pain and anxiety associated with a visit to the dentist have been eliminated.
Regular check-ups are essential for the maintenance of good oral hygiene and to prevent tooth loss. If you’ve been more than six months without a dental checkup, it’s time to get back on the program. Make your appointment right away.