Why Do I Need a Dental Checkup?
You may be diligent about your at-home dental hygiene routine – daily brushing and flossing – but there are still good reasons for have regular dental checkups. Dr. Nishan Halim, Capitol Hill DC dentist, tells why professional dental exams are a critical factor in maintaining healthy teeth.
Your Dental Checkup
Two checkups per year are sufficient for most patients. Your dentist may recommend more frequent visits if you’re at high risk for conditions such as periodontal disease. A routine visit will include a professional cleaning, a dental exam, and X-rays if needed. Your dentist should also discuss your health history, asking about your past dental problems, allergies, medication use, drug reactions, recent illnesses, and chronic diseases.
Cleaning Your Teeth
Professional cleaning gets rid of calculus or tartar, which can build up in hard-to-reach places. Tartar that is missed with regular brushing and flossing, if left untreated, can lead to gum disease. Your hygienist or dentist uses instruments like a scaler or an ultrasound vibrating device to remove the tartar. Your teeth will then be polished with a lightly abrasive paste. The now-smooth tooth surfaces make it more difficult for plaque to accumulate before the next cleaning.
Examining Your Teeth
After your teeth are clean, your dentist will examine them for signs of decay. He or she should also examine your neck, lymph glands, palate, and the soft tissues of your mouth (cheeks, tongue, lips, and floor of the mouth), looking for early signs of gum disease, oral cancer, or other dental problems. Using a metal probe and a small mirror, your dentist will check for gum swelling and redness and measure the depth of the gingival pockets. Swelling, redness, and deep pockets are all signs of gum disease.
He or she will also test how your upper and lower teeth come together and will look for evidence of tooth grinding or problems with the tempromandibular joint (which connects the lower jaw to the skull).
Finally, your dentist can spot clues to whether oral problems are symptoms of other diseases in the body.
It’s important that you have someone who knows your teeth examine and evaluate them. If you see your dentist and dental hygienist on a regular basis, they can look for signs of disease and other problems.
Remember, beautiful teeth are healthy teeth!
Dr. Nishan Halim
Nishan Halim, DMD specializes in adult and pediatric restorative and cosmetic dentistry, as well as preventive dentistry, which is at the heart of this Capitol Hill, Washington DC neighborhood dental center. If you have questions about gum disease, contact Dr. Halim to schedule an appointment. Find out how he can help you maintain your healthy smile.