dental check up

What should you ask on your routine check-up with a dental specialist?

A routine dental check up is a must in order to maintain proper oral hygiene and most dentists will ask you to visit every six months or so. During a dental check up, your family dentist will examine and clean your teeth and check for early indicators of disease or decay.

A routine dental check up will comprise of the following components.

  1. Cleaning and checking overall cleanliness
  2. Checking the health of the gum
  3. Checking for early signs of tooth decay
  4. A head and neck examination
  5. Checking for indicators of cancer, diabetes or vitamin deficiency

Cleaning and overall cleanliness – Keeping teeth clean with regular brushing is one of the benchmarks of ensuring proper oral health. However, a dentist is required to get at the places that we can’t normally reach. Your dentist will clean away plaque and floss between teeth during this time. Your teeth will also be polished and your home practice for oral hygiene will be reviewed.

Checking the health of the gum – Peridontal gum disease is very common and many people suffer from it annually. It is caused by bacteria which allow thick plaque to develop on the teeth, called tartar. Tartar can only be removed by professional cleaning, not by simply brushing at home, which is why a regular dental check up is a must to protect the gums and prevent periodontal disease.

Checking for early signs of tooth decay – Tooth decay is another common problem that almost every person has faced in a dental clinic. Cavities have increased in prevalence over the last few years due to consumption of sugars and sugary drinks. Just like gum disease, cavities are cause by improper oral hygiene and bacteria build up in the mouth.

A head and neck examination – the head and neck are more important than you think when it comes to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Any sign of distress will show signs in the neighbouring area, which is why your dentist will even check your saliva, your lymph nodes and the smaller muscles of your jaw.

Indicators of cancer, diabetes and vitamin deficiency – Oral cancers or cancers of the lymph nodes in the neck can sometimes show up as swellings in the mouth, which your dentist will be able to see. Bad breath and red gums can be the first signs of diabetes, and dental x rays (which are often a routine part of a dental check up) show the earliest signs of bone degeneration. Deficiency of Vitamins A, D, E and K can show symptoms in the mouth, as can a deficiency of iron.