Dental cleanings and regular oral check-ups should be a part of your annual dental care to promote healthy teeth and gums. These exams are an essential part of preventative dental health care.
The American Dental Association (ADA) considers dentistry essential health care and recommends regular dental visits at intervals determined by a dentist. At Mt. Angel Dental, we recommend dental cleanings and regular check-ups twice a year to promote healthy teeth and gums).
Importance of Regular Dental Check-Ups
Regular dental check-ups every 6 months help your dentist see if there have been any changes in your oral health, and if so, treatment can begin before dental issues worsen.
Additionally, your dentist may also pick up on other medical issues you may have. For example, there is a strong correlation between periodontal (gum disease) and diabetes. Diabetes is a systemic disease that can affect all major systems in your body, including your teeth. If your oral exam shows the beginnings of periodontal disease, you may want to visit your primary care provider for further assessment and diagnosis.
Practicing Good Oral Hygiene
Most dental issues can be prevented simply by practicing good oral hygiene at home. Ensuring your teeth are clean will help decrease plaque build-up and reduce your risk of dental problems.
At Mt. Angel Dental, we advise our patients to follow a regular dental hygiene routine that includes:
- Brush your teeth twice a day. Check out this video from Mouth Healthy brought to you by the ADA on “How to Brush Your Teeth.”
- Floss daily. If unwaxed floss gets stuck between your teeth, use the waxed kind instead. Flossing is just as important as brushing.
- Use fluoride toothpaste to protect the enamel on your teeth.
- Brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth to rid your mouth of bacteria.
- Brush your gums.
- Use an oral irrigator for cleaning between your teeth.
- Limit sugary and starchy snack food.
- Visit the dentist regularly for dental cleanings and check-ups.
Remember to brush your teeth every night before you go to bed. Make dental hygiene a part of your bedtime routine.
Difference Between Plaque and Tartar
Plaque is the sticky, colorless film that forms on your teeth. If plaque is not removed with regular brushing and flossing, it hardens to create calculus or tartar. Calculus cannot be removed with a toothbrush and will require a dental professional to remove it during an oral cleaning.
Why Brush Your Gums
Brushing your gums helps remove plaque build-up. Use a soft-bristled brush to brush your gums gently. Don’t brush your gums too roughly or you may experience bleeding, receding gums, or sensitive teeth.
What to Expect At Your Dental Check-Up
During your dental check-up, Dr. Weishoff will ask about your medical and dental history, and then she will perform a dental exam.
Your medical history is an integral part of assessing your risk of developing oral health conditions such as tooth decay, gum disease, or oral cancer. Dr. Weishoff may ask you questions about your lifestyle, such as dietary habits, smoking, alcohol intake, brushing, or your history of dental disease.
After the dental hygienist cleans your teeth, Dr. Weishoff will examine your oral mucosa, teeth, gums, top and bottom of your mouth, and neck to look for infection, cavities, or cancer. If you have any dental problems, she will recommend the appropriate course of treatment.
X-rays are generally taken once a year as part of your routine annual dental check-up. These images help Dr. Weishoff identify changes to your teeth and underlying bone over time. For new patients, digital x-rays will be taken of your teeth to establish a new patient file and treatment plan. X-rays may also be ordered for patients who complain of toothaches or other dental problems.
Oral Cancer Screening
An oral cancer screening aims to identify mouth cancer early when there is a greater chance for a cure. Dr. Weishoff will examine your lips and mouth, looking for any areas of irritation such as sores and white patches (leukoplakia). If there is any suspicious-looking tissue, she will refer you to the appropriate medical provider.
A bite assessment or occlusal analysis is done to check for any imbalances in your bite (e.g., underbite, overbite, crossbite, etc.). A bad bite may cause loose teeth, excessive tooth wear, or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder (jaw joint pain).
Signs You Should See A Dentist More Frequently
You may need to see a dentist more frequently if you have more issues with your teeth and gums, such as:
- Your teeth are sensitive to hot or cold.
- Your gums are puffy and/or bleed when you brush or floss.
- You have fillings, crowns, dental implants, dentures, etc.
- You don’t like the way your smile or teeth look.
- You have persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth.
- You are pregnant.
- You have pain or swelling in your mouth, face, or neck.
- You have difficulty chewing or swallowing.
- You have a family history of gum disease or tooth decay.
- You have a medical condition, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, eating disorders, or are HIV positive.
- Your mouth is often dry.
- You smoke or use other tobacco products.
- You are undergoing medical treatment such as radiation, chemotherapy, or hormone replacement therapy.
- Your jaw sometimes pops or is painful when opening and closing, chewing, or when you first wake up; you have an uneven bite.
- You have a spot or sore that doesn’t look or feel right in your mouth, and it isn’t going away.
Dental Cleanings and Regular Check-Ups in Mt. Angel, Oregon
Call Mt. Angel Dental at (503) 845-2273 to schedule your dental cleanings and regular check-ups. For your convenience, you may also request an appointment online.
Don’t sweat it if you haven’t been to a dentist in several years. We are not here to judge or admonish you. Schedule an appointment today to restore your oral health.