During your dental check ups, it’s common to see both your hygienist and dentist in Alexandria. Ideally, these check ups happen twice a year so your dental team can keep a close eye on your oral health and catch any problems early before they have a chance to become a bigger, more serious problem, and while they’re still usually treated easily. But what exactly do your dentist and dental hygienist do during check ups?
Before any type of dentistry begins, your dental team will get an update on your overall and oral health. They’ll want to gather information such as if there has been any changes to medications or newly diagnosed conditions. It’s important to be honest during this conversation as many whole-health problems are also linked to oral health, so the more your dentist knows, the better care they can provide. You should also mention any concerns you may have about your oral health such as any pain, sensitivity, or cosmetic services you may be interested in.
While the order of how things happen during your appointment may vary depending on the office, the following is a typical outline of what happens during the first stage of a dental check up.
Your dental hygienist may begin your appointment by taking a peek inside your mouth and looking at your teeth and gums. They’re looking for any signs of gum swelling or redness as well as any visual areas of decay. Additionally, some hygienists will also measure gum pockets to monitor for gum disease.
Next, your hygienist will get to work thoroughly, yet gently, cleaning your teeth. This is a more in depth process than brushing and flossing at home. Special tools are used to remove plaque and tartar buildup from your gums and teeth, which can’t be done at home. They may also gently poke at teeth to check for cavities.
Following your cleaning, your hygienist will polish off your pearly whites using a special tool and paste. Polishing can help remove leftover plaque from your teeth and can even remove surface tooth stains.
Dental x-rays don’t usually happen at every check up, but they will be taken if it’s been a year or more since your last radiographs or if your dental team needs to see below the surface of your teeth to more closely check out any areas of concern. Dental x-rays are safe and emit very low levels of radiation.
After your hygienist conducts an initial exam, cleans your teeth, and takes any necessary x-rays, your dentist will come in to check things out. If there are any areas of concern, they’ll take a closer look at the area and any accompanying x-rays or images. Your dentist will also evaluate your jaw, bite, and teeth for any signs of decay.
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