What Does a Dentist Do?
If you are one of the 40% of adults or 20% of children who do not see a valparaiso dentist regularly, then maybe scheduling an appointment with a dentist leaves you with anxiety and an unclear picture of what a dentist actually does. You may brush and floss each morning and night, but this is not enough for most people to completely prevent and avoid cavities, gum disease and plaque. Seeing the dentist in addition to good habits is the best way to keep your mouth healthy and to avoid more serious issues down the road.
A dentist visit usually includes x-rays once a year. The dentist will take photos of different areas of your mouth to focus on the roots of your teeth, your bite and any potential cysts or growths in your mouth. These x-rays will help the dentist determine if there are any infections, developmental issues or cavities. Once your dentist has more than one set of x-rays, then the dentist can monitor changes in your mouth before they become problematic.
While your visit with your dentist may include time with both the dentist and dental hygienist, the dentist is the one who is best equipped for reviewing and diagnosing any disease or decay. Your dentist will take time and special tools to look around your teeth, gums, and mouth for:
Signs of tooth decay or cavities
The dentist will check your teeth for visible signs of cavities or any weak spots which may lead to cavities.
The dentist will check around each tooth on both your top and bottom jaw for the health of the gum and where it attaches to the tooth. The dentist will take a measurement from on a scale from one to five and note it in your chart. The dentist will be able to review changes from one visit to the next to monitor gum disease and its more serious complications.
The dentist will feel, watch and note how your jaw opens and closes and where the teeth meet. In younger patients, the dentist can make evaluations for orthodontic referrals. In older patients, the dentist can monitor tooth movement or wear or even TMJ symptoms.
Using alcohol and tobacco increase your risk of oral cancer, but even abstinence from these does not prevent oral cancer. The dentist will take time to look over your face, neck, mouth, gums, tongue and cheeks for any signs of cancer. As with most cancers, the earlier the detection, the stronger the chance for remission so any small changes can really help you stay healthier, longer.
Scaling and Polishing
The dentist and the dental hygienist will take time and special tools to remove any plaque or tartar build up on the teeth and below the gums. Sometimes, they will even take the time to floss your teeth and work with you on improved at home technique.
Fluoride, Sealant, and Homework
The dentist may talk to you about preventative care and how you can come back with a healthier mouth on your next visit. The dentist may recommend a topical fluoride treatment for your mouth or a sealant application for weaker spots on certain teeth as a way to help keep your mouth as healthy as possible. Your homework will always include brushing and flossing twice a day and any extra credit you put in will most certainly pay off!
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