OUR PROCESS: Understanding your first dental visit

Taking care of your teeth means more than brushing and flossing. For complete care, it’s important to visit a dentist every six months for a regular check-up and professional cleaning

On your first visit, we will take a full health history. On follow-up visits, if your health status has changed, make sure to tell your dentist. Here’s what you can expect during most trips to the dentist, though depending on your oral history, your experience may vary.

A Full Dental Examination: Your dental health care provider will perform a thorough examination of your teeth, gums and mouth, looking for signs of disease or other problems. The goal is to help maintain your good oral health and to prevent problems from becoming serious by identifying and treating them as soon as possible.

A Thorough Cleaning (Scaling and polishing): Check-ups almost always include a complete dental cleaning. Using special instruments, we will scrape along and below the gum line, removing built-up plaque and tartar that can cause gum disease, cavities, bad breath and other problems. We will also advise you on oral care techniques and products to use at home for improved oral health.

X-rays: Depending on your age, risks of oral disease and symptoms, your dentist may recommend X-rays. X-rays can diagnose problems otherwise unnoticed, such as damage to jawbones, impacted teeth, abscesses, cysts or tumors, and decay between the teeth. If you are pregnant, inform your dentist, as X-rays should only be taken in emergency situations.

If your teeth and gums are in good shape, you probably won’t need to return for six months. If further treatment is required — say to fill a cavity, repair a broken tooth, treat advanced gum disease you should make an appointment before leaving the dental office.

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