A healthy dental prophylaxis (or cleaning) and check-up consist of X-rays, an oral exam, and a thorough cleaning by a registered dental hygienist.
The hygienist usually takes X-rays first. The dentist then conducts an oral exam to check for any problems, decay, and oral cancer. This exam includes the tongue and soft tissue of the mouth. Adults will also require a periodontal chart at least once per year to check on your bone and gum health.
The cleaning will cover above and below your gum line, and provides any necessary education and instruction afterward for best results.
Bite-wing X-rays are taken most frequently – usually every six months to a year. These X-rays show the upper and lower molars and bicuspids, and reveal areas between your teeth to help find any hidden decay.
The hygienist may also take a panoramic X-ray to check third molars, jaw joints, and general health of the lower part of the face. Usually, this X-ray is only scheduled once every 3-5 years. A full mouth X-ray is sometimes done instead of, or in addition to, the panoramic X-ray. Your individual needs will determine which is right for you.
Did you know your overall health can be affected by your oral health? Poor dental health can put you at greater risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
A check-up with knowledgeable dentists, like those at Summit Dental Group, includes a thorough exam of both the hard tooth surfaces as well as the soft tissue of your mouth. Additionally, X-rays reveal vulnerable areas between the teeth, finding cavities and other problems when they’re small and easier to treat. When your dentist finds decay or gum disease early, your teeth are more likely to be saved with minimal intervention.
Places that are difficult to reach at home are best-taken care of during a professional teeth cleaning. This ensures debris is removed and prevents chronic infections from developing, like periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss, as well as contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and possibly Alzheimer's.