A regular dental check up is important because they help keep your teeth and gums healthy. You should have a regular dental visit at least every 6 months or as recommended by your dental professional.
What happens at your dental visit?
There are 2 parts to a regular dental visit – check up, or examination and the cleaning, or oral prophylaxis.
At the dental check up your dentist will check for cavities. X-rays might be taken to detect cavities between your teeth. The exam will also include a check for plaque and tartar on your teeth. Plaque is a clear, sticky layer of bacteria. If it is not removed, it can harden and become tartar. You cannot remove tartar with brushing and flossing. If plaque and tartar build up on your teeth, they can cause oral diseases.
Next, your gums will be checked. This will be done with a special tool to measure the depth of the spaces between your teeth and gums. With healthy gums, the spaces are shallow. When people have gum disease, the spaces may become deeper.
Your teeth will also be cleaned at your visit. Brushing and flossing help clean the plaque from your teeth, but you can’t remove tartar at home. During the cleaning, your dental professional will use special tools to remove tartar.
After your teeth are scaled, they may be polished. In most cases, a gritty paste is used for this. It helps to remove any surface stains on your teeth.
What you should do between each dental visit
- Be sure to take care of your teeth and gums between regular dental visits. Plaque is always forming on your teeth, but you can manage it by brushing and flossing regularly. Here are some tips for good oral care at home.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
- Floss daily.
- Use a mouthwash to help control plaque bacteria. This will also help to keep your breath fresh.