Preventive dentistry involves caring for your teeth to keep them healthy. It prevents dental issues from occurring. A cleaning, also known as a prophylaxis or prophy, is a professional dental cleaning you receive from a dentist or dental hygienist. Most dental cleanings take only between 30 minutes and an hour.
By visiting the dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning, patients can better prevent tooth decay and preserve the health of their teeth and gums. This is what happens at a preventive dental visit:
A general checkup includes professional teeth cleaning, during which the dentist or hygienist removes plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth with specialized tools, like an electric toothbrush or an ultrasonic scaler. This helps prevent cavities and gum disease by getting rid of the harmful bacteria that cause them. The dentist may also check your teeth and gums for signs of damage or decay. If needed, he can also fill any cavities.
During your checkup appointment, your dentist will also use digital X-rays as well as intraoral X-rays to look at your teeth below the gum line, which can reveal early signs of decay and even potential issues with your jawbones. These scans can help your dentist spot problems before they become major issues that need more extensive treatment. We can even use the images to design and place custom dental crowns to restore your smile’s function and beauty!
Your dentist will examine your oral cavity for signs of oral cancer and other abnormalities during your routine checkup. The examination may include a visual examination of your mouth, palpation (feeling) of the tissues in your mouth and throat, and inspection of the surfaces of your teeth for any signs of decay or discoloration. If your dentist finds anything suspicious, they may recommend additional testing to diagnose the problem and recommend treatment.
It is important to have a dental checkup every six months so that your doctor can look for any changes in your oral health. While oral cancer is uncommon in a patient who is under the age of 40, it is still possible to develop it at any age.
Regular checkups allow your dentist to track your dental health over time so he can catch any potential issues before they get serious. For example, if you avoid flossing regularly or have a habit of grinding your teeth at night, this causes your gums to wear down and become vulnerable to infection. The sooner your dentist can catch these issues, the easier it is to treat them.
If you have a history of gum disease, you may need to get routine deep cleanings every three to four months or so.
Your dentist may also recommend additional treatments depending on your health history. This may include sealants to prevent tooth decay on your child’s permanent back teeth, fluoride trays to strengthen tooth enamel, or even a night guard if you grind your teeth at night. These optional treatments can improve your oral health and prevent the need for more intensive dental treatment in the future.
If you wish to learn more about preventive dental care, visit our clinic at Winning Smiles Family Dentistry, 7801 Old Branch Ave #206, Clinton, MD 20735. For appointments, call us at (301) 868-2004. We will be happy to guide you further.