Routine Dental Care Basics
At every check-up your hygienist (or dentist) will check every tooth, plus your gums, tongue and cheeks. Healthy teeth depend on a healthy mouth. Your dentist will check all of the structures and surfaces in your mouth for cavities, signs of gum disease, infections and other possible health problems.
Get a peek at your general health
You mouth can show signs that indicate more serious health concerns like heart disease and diabetes. Some cancers create sores and lesions under the tongue and in the folds of the cheek. That’s why your dentist doesn't stop with your teeth. They'll look under your tongue, in your cheek, and at your tonsils and throat.
If your dentist sees something that concerns her, she’ll tell you about it and explain what it may mean. She may refer you to a dental specialist or your doctor.
If your dentist refers you to another medical professional for any reason, please follow through. Many problems have much better outcomes if you get help early.
Your hygienist will clean along and below the gum line with an ultra-sonic tool or a dental scraper to remove built-up plaque and tartar. Once all the tartar and plaque are gone, you'll get a tooth polishing and a good flossing.
Most people need a dental cleaning every six months, but some people need them more often. People who build up tartar quickly, have Type II diabetes, or have gum disease may need to see the hygienist three or four times a year.
Get X-Rays once a year
Modern, digital X-Ray machines use a low dose of radiation to capture detailed images of your mouth’s structure. X-Rays help your dentist see problems like infections, cavities between teeth, impacted wisdom teeth and much more.
Once a year is a typical schedule for adults, although your dentist may recommend X-Rays more or less often.
In between check-ups is on you
Brush your teeth at least twice a day to break up tartar so it doesn't become plaque. Floss at least once a day to break up bacteria between teeth that your brush can’t reach. Make sure you use fluoride toothpaste to strengthen your teeth’s enamel so they can stand up to plaque. A fluoride rinse is a good idea, too.