Preventive Dental Care Appointments

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A comprehensive dental examination involves:

Examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): Essential every few years for detection of decay and bone loss, and any pathology if it exists, and assists to determine tooth and root positions when required

Oral cancer screening at each examination to monitor for changes to the supporting soft tissues of the mouth, and the gums, if any

Gum disease evaluation: Checking the gum health and bone levels around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease, and monitoring for changes in the gum heights around each tooth, stability and measuring recession of the gums if it is happening

Examination for tooth decay: All tooth surfaces are checked for decay, cracks and wear

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Examination of existing restorations: Checking current fillings, crowns, etc are intact and sealed, to protect against bacteria entering the inside of the teeth

Checking for jaw joint problems: Examination of every tooth surface for wear, chipping and defects that may have altered since the previous visit, detection of night grinding

Monitoring of home oral hygiene measures and dietary considerations: Discussion about home regimens for the best preventive care strategies 

Before and after professional dental cleaning

Professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis) are usually performed by Registered Dental Hygienists or your dentist: 

A cleaning appointment will include a dental examination and the following:

Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for a period of time, which has firmly attached to the tooth surface, and forms above and below the gum line, and can only be removed professionally

Removal of plaque: Plaque is the sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth, effectively a growing colony of living bacteria, dead bacterial cells, food debris, and saliva.  The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that cause the gums to react by becoming inflamed, which is gingivitis, and the start of periodontal disease

Teeth polishing: Removal of staining from the tooth, and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling