What happens when you get a dental checkup? Is it really necessary to get checkups twice a year? Is it true that dental checkups are often painful? The answers to all of these questions will help you understand what your dentist does during a checkup, and why.
According to the American Dental Association, or ADA, the reason behind the twice-yearly dental checkup is simple: this length of time allows your dentist catch problems before they develop into painful, expensive dental issues. By having your teeth examined at six-month intervals, tooth decay, gum disease, and a host of other problems can be prevented or treated immediately, saving you time, money, and most of all, discomfort.
It is especially important for children to have regular checkups, as the difference in a child’s oral health over a six-month period can change drastically as teeth begin to emerge from the gums.
The dental checkup will usually begin with the hygienist, who will examine your mouth for problems to bring to the doctor’s attention, and make x-rays, if required, to check for non-visible decay inside your teeth. The hygienist will then scrape your teeth to remove tartar buildup, if necessary, and polish your teeth with an abrasive paste, using a high-speed tool which shines and polishes. After the hygienist has finished your cleaning, the dentist will come in and carefully examine your teeth, looking for signs of cavities, gum disease, and other problems. The dentist will discuss the findings with you and help you choose the best course of treatment for any problems.
That is really all there is to it! No painful drilling or other procedures are necessary to do a simple dental checkup and cleaning. The exam procedure, from start to finish, normally takes no more than thirty minutes, so it is possible to get it done on your lunch hour or in a brief break from work or school. You will not have to avoid foods or drinks afterwards, although the ADA does suggest that you follow up your cleaning and exam with a regimen of good dental hygiene, such as brushing, flossing, and gum care.
The American Dental Association, or ADA, states that the amount of radiation you are exposed to in a dental x-ray is relatively small when compared with other sources of radiation, such as natural radiation from the earth. However, the ADA recommends that extra precautions be taken with women who are pregnant or of child-bearing age, such as a lead-lined “thyroid shield” that wraps around the throat.
If you are pregnant, be sure to tell your dentist. Dentists evaluate the need to take x-rays against the health of the baby, so it is important to have complete information available to make this decision.
This process in generally not painful; some patients find the taste of the polishing toothpaste overpowering, however. If you do not like the taste, talk to your hygienist; it is often easy to switch products to find something you like for your dental cleaning.
The hygienist will also floss your teeth to remove any remnants of tartar or plaque. After this, the dentist will usually stop in to look at your mouth and talk to you about any problems you have been experiencing.
The American Dental Association, or ADA, recommends that you maintain a good routine of brushing and flossing between each dental cleaning to keep your teeth healthy and minimize the need for tartar scaling at your next checkup.
Some of the major insurances we accept are displayed to the right, however, we gladly accept ALL PPO Insurance plans and are a Delta Dental Premier provider.
We will gladly help you to understand whether your insurance has limits on the doctors you can see or the services you can receive. If you provide complete and accurate information about your insurance, we will submit claims to your insurance carrier and receive payments for services.
Depending on your insurance coverage, you may be responsible for co-payments, co-insurance, or other deductible amounts. Please contact our office or call your insurance carrier should you have any questions.