Importance of regular dental check-ups

Regular dental check-ups are vital for healthy teeth and gums – usually every 6 months, or as recommended by your dental professional. What happens at your dental visit? There are two parts to a standard dental visit. The check up (or examination) and the cleaning (or oral prophylaxis).

In the check-up your dental professional will check for cavities. X-rays might be taken to find cavities between your teeth. The exam includes checking for plaque and tartar on your teeth. Plaque is a clear, sticky film of bacteria. If left, it will harden, becoming tartar – which can’t be removed with brushing or flossing. Plaque and tartar must be removed to prevent oral diseases.

Then they’ll check your gums, measuring the depth of the spaces between your teeth and gums. With healthy gums, the spaces are shallow and with gum disease, the spaces can become deeper.

There will also be a careful examination of your tongue, throat, face, head, and neck. They’ll be looking for swelling, redness, or possible signs of cancer. Your teeth will also be cleaned. Brushing and flossing can remove plaque from your teeth, but not tartar.

So during the cleaning, your dental professional will use special tools to remove tartar – a process called called scaling. Once scaled, your teeth might be polished, using gritty paste, which removes surface stains.