What Should I Expect at a Dental Visit?
Now that you found a valparaiso dentist who meets your dental needs, you’ve made your appointment for an exam and cleaning before any dental emergencies arise. At the beginning of your first appointment, you will share your complete medical history with the dentist and any subsequent visits you can update this history as it changes. It is important to include any medications you are taking as these may affect how susceptible you are to infection and how easily your gums may bleed. Your dentist can give you the best care once the complete background is there to review.
Your visits to the dentist every six months will include a thorough cleaning of your teeth, gums and mouth either by the dentist or dental hygienist or both. The dentist will use special tools to scrape any tartar and plaque from your teeth both above and below the gum line. This scraping will help prevent infection, cavities, halitosis and future issues. The cleaning may be followed by a polishing with a special paste and rubber tool. The hygienist may even floss your teeth and take the time to review with you the best technique to floss your teeth at home.
The dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth, gums, tongue, cheeks, lips, and mouth to identify any areas of concern. This review will include checking for cancer as well as more benign cysts or potential cavities. When the dentist takes the time to note any changes from your last visit or from your history that you shared at the beginning of the visit, this can help address any problem before it becomes more complicated or more serious.
Depending on your history, age and risk of certain problems, most dentists recommend once yearly x-rays during your twice yearly visits. X-rays give the dentist the opportunity to look beyond the surface of your mouth and see the full tooth and its root, the jaw bone, and any growths or inflammations. While x-ray machines and their radiation were once very strong and dangerous, dentist offices now use machines with radiation no stronger than what you would be exposed to from watching television over the weekend or a day at the beach. When you are pregnant, x-rays should be reserved for emergency situations only. The dentist will help reduce your exposure to radiation by offering a protective lead apron.
Some dentists and dental specialists may use a panoramic x-ray or Panorex to get a more complete view of your mouth, upper and lower jaw, and bite in just one picture.
Once you have decided that this your dentist you want to keep as your own, you can count on cleaning and exams every six months. Depending on your overall health and your oral health, you may need to see the dentist for more frequent cleaning or if more procedures or treatments are required. The dentist may want to perform some preventative care like sealants or treat cracked fillings already in place so you will need to see the dentist between your regular visits. Be sure to ask the dentist or office staff any questions you have about procedures or billing before you leave. And make your follow up appointment while you are still there and you will be keeping another good dental health practice.
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