Finding a new dentist can be a complicated process. After researching dentists near you, making sure that they accept your insurance, getting estimates for your exam, and reading all their reviews, we often forget about the entire point of that initial appointment. Your first appointment helps to establish you as a patient for that office and gets you familiar with a new staff and their general procedures. Your new dentist will likely want to complete an initial screening, review your medical history, and conduct an exam. Part of this exam generally includes cleaning and x-rays.
The cleaning is often one of the most dreaded parts of a patient’s dental visit. However, if you understand a little bit more about it, then you may find that there isn’t anything to be concerned about and you’ll also realize the importance of getting a regular cleaning.
A tooth cleaning is broken down by dental hygienists into six different parts. We’ll discuss each and give a brief description of what they include.
A Physical Exam – Before your hygienist starts to do anything to your teeth, they conduct a physical exam. They use a small mirror to look for any immediate issues. This includes gingivitis, significant plaque buildup, and noticeable tooth loss or damage.
Remove Tartar and Plaque – Your hygienist will then use the small mirror and a scraper tool (scaler) in order to remove some of the loose buildup of tartar and plaque. You’ll generally hear the scraping sound, but this is not an uncomfortable process. The more accumulation that is on your teeth, the longer this process may take.
Gritty Toothpaste Cleaning – In a professional medical setting, a gritty toothpaste is safe to use twice a year. If you try to do the same procedure at home though, you risk damaging the enamel of your teeth. Your hygienist will use a special electrical toothbrush and professional cleaning toothpaste in order to clean and polish your teeth.
Expert Flossing – As your hygienist completes your flossing, they are looking for any spots that may be susceptible to bleeding on the gums and making sure to remove any of the buildup that was left behind from brushing.
Rinse – Now that your teeth have been cleaned and polished and most of the debris has been manually removed, the rinse helps to remove all the fine plaque or buildup that didn’t come out before. The rinse helps to ensure that your mouth is as clean as possible.
Fluoride Treatment – Fluoride treatments help to add a protective layer to your teeth to continue to protect them and keep them cavity-free. Fluoride hardens when it contacts saliva, so you can consume food and drink immediately after your appointment.
The second part of your initial dental appointment will often include X-rays. X-rays use a low level of radiation that helps to capture images of the inside of your teeth.
These images are helpful in determining any problems that aren’t visible to the naked eye. X-rays can aid your dentist in diagnosing cavities, tooth decay or impacted teeth.
X-rays are typically performed at your first appointment and again when your dentist feels that you need them. Some factors that influence the frequency of imaging include:
Current oral health
History of gum disease
Symptoms of oral disease
Children often receive more X-rays than adults due to their rapid growth and to make sure that their permanent teeth are developing appropriately.
Regular dental appointments are a critical component in your dental health. The health of your mouth also has an impact on other aspects of your body as well, so it’s important to make sure that you correct any issues as soon as possible. If you are considering a checkup, contact your dentist today to schedule an appointment.
Parenting has many responsibilities, with one of the most important being teaching your child how to care for himself. One important aspect of that care is the importance and practice of looking after his teeth. Dental health is something that is often taken for granted but setting up your child with a robust oral hygiene routine and an understanding of the benefits of taking care of his teeth will make him more likely to enjoy better dental health in the future. This is essential if he is to retain an attractive, functional smile. It is also important for his general health since poor oral hygiene and dental problems have been proven to be a contributing factor in the development of a number of medical conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and even cancer.
Pediatric dentistry services, offered by your dentist, are invaluable in helping to keep your child’s teeth in the best possible health and condition. Here is what you need to know about pediatric dentistry and what it can do you for your little people.
The exact age at which a child will cut their first tooth can vary widely. In most cases, the infant's teeth begin to erupt between 4 and 6 months of age. However, it is not unheard of for a baby to be over a year old before their teeth begin to appear. In very rare cases, babies have even been born with their first tooth already cut! Most dentists that offer pediatric services will recommend that you start taking your child to the dentist as soon as they cut their first tooth. Obviously, the initial visits will involve just a brief look into your infant’s mouth to check that the teeth look healthy and in the right position. However, by the time your child is two years old, he should be able to sit in the chair for a dental examination.
Many children who are fearful of the dentist have developed their anxiety as a result of a phobia passed down from their parents, or because the environment and process are unfamiliar. Therefore, the sooner you get your little one used to visiting the dentist, the less frightened they are likely to be and this can make every appointment much easier and more pleasant for everyone involved.
Many pediatric dentistry services are not all that dissimilar to the services that we receive as an adult. However, there are additional elements that uniquely apply to children. Exactly what pediatric dentistry services your dentist provides will vary, but typically you can expect:
Regular appointments for dental check-ups (often family block appointments so that you can have all of your children seen at once for added convenience)
Cavity risk assessments
Professional cleaning including any fluoride treatments deemed necessary
Early assessment for potential orthodontic involvement should your child have teeth that are in poor alignment or an over/under/crossbite
Care and management for gum issues, including impacted teeth that have not erupted as they should
Assessment for issues such as bruxism (teeth grinding)
Support with behaviors that affect your child’s dental health, for example sucking their thumb or using a pacifier
Support with an eruption of secondary teeth including managing overcrowding and failed eruptions
General advice on nutrition and proper brushing techniques
As a responsible and loving parent, you are committed to both your child’s dental health and ensuring that they receive the care and compassion that they deserve from their dentist. By choosing a pediatric dentist, you can be sure that they will benefit from treatment from a professional who understands and is experienced in dealing with young people of all ages. Your pediatric dentist will know how to talk to and explain things to your child and will have developed tools and techniques for making the entire experience in their offices as relaxed and calm as possible.
For more information on pediatric dentistry services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.