What to Expect During Your Dental Cleaning and Exam

When you arrive for your appointment, our friendly staff will greet you personally. They will ask you about how you’re feeling and may ask about personal events in your life since the last time you were at the office. They may also ask you some general questions about your oral health.

What Happens in a Dental Cleaning

adult woman smiling with teethNext, your hygienist will take over to perform your cleaning. Your cleaning has three main components: scaling, polishing, and flossing.

Scaling is the most critical part of your professional cleaning. It’s when your hygienist removes tartar, or dental calculus, from your teeth. Tartar is a hardened plaque. Plaque combines oral bacteria, their protective coating, and food residue. It’s soft, like yogurt, and easy to remove when you brush. However, it can absorb minerals in your saliva to harden if you don’t remove it. It’s almost as if the plaque fossilizes–it becomes like a rock. This rock-like shelter can protect bacteria, allowing them to multiply in dangerous numbers. Removing the tartar lets your body keep bacteria under control.

Polishing your teeth also helps keep bacteria from damaging your teeth. It’s harder for bacteria to bind to smooth surfaces. Plus, polishing your teeth helps them look their bright and beautiful best.

Flossing your teeth is also part of the cleaning. It lets your hygienist assess how well your home hygiene works to clean your teeth.

What Happens in a Dental Exam

Your Wichita Falls dentist will want to talk to your hygienist about what they saw when cleaning your teeth. Some dentists like to do this before entering the room, while others like to have this conversation when you’re there so they can talk to you about the issues. Your dentist will ask you if you have any problems or concerns about your oral health.

Next, your dentist will look at your teeth. They will evaluate the enamel, looking for white spots or discoloration that are a sign of early decay and cavities–holes in your teeth that might need fillings.

Your dentist will also look at your gums. They will assess the color of your gums and how well they adhere to your teeth. They will evaluate the depth of periodontal pockets between your teeth and gums. If these are too large, it might indicate that your gum disease is worsening.

Your dentist may order x-rays or additional testing if they see–or you report–causes for concern. You don’t need X-rays at every visit, but getting them regularly is essential to check for oral health problems that may not be obvious to the naked eye. In addition to cavities and gum disease, your dentist may ask about back pain, neck pain, and other symptoms related to temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ or TMD).

Benefits of a Professional Cleaning and Checkup

Why should you get regular professional cleanings and checkups? These offer many benefits for you. With regular professional cleanings and checkups, you’ll:

  • Reduce your risk of cavities
  • Reduce your risk of gum disease
  • Detect problems before they get bad
  • Get instruction in better home hygiene
  • Have a more attractive smile
  • Protect your overall health

Professional cleanings remove tartar that shelters oral bacteria to reduce your risk of cavities and gum disease. In addition, your dentist will be able to detect oral health problems very early. Early detection can reduce the cost of treating dental pain. Early detection might mean getting a simple filling rather than a dental crown. In some cases, you might not need a restoration at all–simple changes to your oral hygiene and diet can make it easier for your body to heal gums and teeth. That not only preserves your teeth, but it also saves you money. Your dentist and hygienist can advise you about improving your home hygiene routine to protect your teeth and gums.

Dental cleanings help your smile look its best by removing tartar buildup and polishing your teeth.

Finally, dental checkups aren’t just good for your teeth–they can improve your overall health. Studies show that people who visit their dentist regularly have a lower risk of heart problems like heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

Determining the Frequency of Dental Visits

There is no universal recommendation for how often you should see a dentist yearly. However, for most people, visiting the dentist twice a year is about right for the health and beauty of your teeth.

If you are young, you might only need to see the dentist once a year. However, you might need to see the dentist more often if you:

  • Have a personal or family history of gum disease
  • Take medications or have health conditions that increase oral health risks
  • Find it difficult to clean your teeth at home
  • Have teeth replacements (like dental implants) that might benefit from more frequent professional care

Getting more regular dental checkups makes sense for some people. If you have had gum disease in the past or have a family history of severe gum disease, your dentist might recommend more frequent visits.

Health conditions like diabetes and medications that cause dry mouth can increase your oral health risks. In some cases, more frequent check-ups can help.

If home hygiene is challenging, you might get more tartar buildup and see gum disease or cavities progress more quickly. More frequent checkups can head this off.

Finally, it’s sometimes a good idea to visit the dentist more often to protect an investment in dental implants. It’s not always necessary to see the dentist more often after implants, but it may be worth it.

Book Your Dental Cleaning in Wichita Falls Today!

Are you looking for a dentist in Wichita Falls to give you a dental cleaning and checkup? Look no further than StarImage Dentistry.

Please call 940-322-2252 or use our online form to schedule an appointment at StarImage Dentistry in Wichita Falls.