It’s a good idea to see your dentist twice a year for regular check-ups.
During your check-up, we’ll examine your teeth and gums for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, and other health problems. Then, one of our hygienists will begin your teeth cleaning by scraping hard mineral deposits (tartar) off your teeth with a small metal tool. She’ll also floss your teeth, polish your teeth, and if needed, apply a fluoride treatment.
Occasionally, we’ll want to take x-ray pictures of some of your teeth. The process takes only a few minutes. First, your hygienist will gently cover you from the neck down with a heavy apron to shield you from excess radiation. Next, she’ll have you bite down on a small plastic holder containing a piece of photographic film while she positions the x-ray camera near your jaw. When it’s time to snap the picture, she and anyone else in the room will step into the hallway for a moment to avoid unnecessary exposure to the radiation. This process could be repeated if we need to get pictures of several teeth.
If necessary, your dentist may brush sealants onto the chewing surfaces of your back teeth to help prevent cavities. Sealants keep food and bacteria from getting stuck in the rough chewing surfaces of your teeth. They also protect your teeth from plaque.
Finally, we may want to apply a fluoride solution directly onto your teeth to help prevent tooth decay. It’s completely painless and just takes a few minutes.
If you are prone to infections, or if infections are particularly dangerous for you, you may need to take antibiotics before you have some types of dental work done. You may need to take antibiotics if you:
•have certain heart conditions
•have an impaired immune system
•recently had major surgery or have man-made body parts, such as an artificial hip or heart valve
We may ask you about the foods you eat. What you eat and whether you get enough vitamins and minerals can affect your dental health.
Home Oral Health
If you have active tooth decay or gum disease, we may talk to you about changing your brushing and flossing habits. Sometimes, antibiotics or additional dental treatments may be needed.