With over half of all American adults struggling with some degree of periodontal disease, this common chronic illness is growing to epidemic proportions. One of the leading causes of periodontal disease is poor oral hygiene, and brushing, and flossing at home simply is not enough to combat this growing problem. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to severe health complications such as heart attack, stroke, cancer, and even death.
While practicing good oral hygiene can certainly help prevent this disease, you also need to stay on top of your professional cleanings with us. We here at Watermark Dentistry strongly recommend that all of our patients schedule regular checkups with cleanings with us every six months.
Why Regular Dental Exams and Cleanings Are So Important
A dental checkup consists of two main parts of the exam. First, we will check your mouth and see if there are any areas of concern that need further addressing. Afterward, we will start the cleaning. Both parts of your dental exam are essential for not only your oral health but your general wellbeing.
One of the first things we will do during your dental exam is ask you a few questions about your oral health and if there are any specific areas of concern that you want us to examine. Depending on how long it has been since your last checkup, we may advise x-rays at this point. We typically like to take x-rays every two years, or as often as necessary if there is something specific we need to look at closer.
We will then look inside your mouth to assess your oral health. While we are indeed looking for tooth decay, that is only one part of the exam. We will also check your mouth for any lesions or any suspicious signs that you may have oral cancer. Oral cancer screenings are a crucial part of dental exams. We will also check your bite and your alignment to determine if you need any further work on these areas. You may also feel us press a metal device against your teeth and your gums, and while doing so, you may hear us calling out numbers. That is us checking your gum pockets to see if you have any gum recession as a result of periodontal disease.
After the Exam
After we are done examining your mouth, we will then proceed with your cleaning. One of the first things we do during the cleaning is to scale your teeth. This involves using our scaler, a metal device that scrapes all of the hardened calculus (tartar) from your teeth.
Next, we will floss your teeth for you. If you notice blood in your mouth during this part of the cleaning, that tells us you may not be flossing enough at home. We may educate you about how to properly floss at this point. After the flossing, we will then brush your teeth with a special type of gritty toothpaste, which helps smooth and polish your dental enamel. Finally, we may offer you a fluoride rinse to help keep your teeth strong.
If it has been longer than six months since your last dental checkup, then we would love to see you in our exam chair again. Please give us a call here at Watermark Dentistry at (206) 242-5808 today.