When life gets hectic, many adults put off routine dental appointments, and that can come back to haunt you down the road. If it has been longer than you’d like to admit since a dentist has seen you, there is no time like the present to reinvest in your oral health. Having your teeth cleaned by a professional is about more than just a white smile. Maintaining your oral health can prevent tooth loss and other serious health issues.
Here’s what you can expect if it has been years since you have been in the dentist chair.
An Extensive Cleaning
If it has been over a year since you have been to the dentist, the first thing you can expect is for your appointment to take a bit longer than usual. Over time, a significant amount of plaque can form on the surfaces of your teeth, and the only way to have this plaque removed is with a professional teeth cleaning. Once your teeth have been cleaned, you will be able to leave your appointment with peace-of-mind in knowing your teeth are plaque-free.
Your dentist or dental technician may suggest a deep clean, in which they scrape off tartar and polish each tooth individually. While this may take a bit longer, be sure to make the time. Teeth cleanings are vital in keeping your teeth healthy and preventing tooth decay.
Flossing will be a part of your teeth cleaning, and as the dental hygienist begins to floss your teeth, your gums will be likely to bleed. While it may feel uncomfortable and unnerving, bleeding gums don’t necessarily mean that you have a severe dental issue. Many times, gums bleed when they are not used to the pressure of flossing. If you do not floss between your teeth regularly at home, you are likely to experience gum bleeding during your appointment.
Once your teeth have been cleaned, your dentist will need to take a series of x-rays. These x-rays allow us to view any underlying problems that may be hidden out of sight. If you have been seeing the same dentist for past cleanings, this is very helpful. Old x-rays on file will help us be able to provide a comparison of what your teeth used to look like Vs. what they look like now. If you are a new patient, we will use the new x-rays to create an oral health history to provide guidance for future appointments.
Comprehensive Oral Exam
After a hygienist has thoroughly cleaned your teeth, your dentist will begin to examine your mouth and teeth for any cavities, signs of tooth decay, or periodontal disease. You may also receive an exam looking for signs of oral cancer. If a dentist has not seen you in years, there is a good chance that you may have one or two cavities that require attention.
Re-Education on Preventative Care
Either before or after your cleaning, your dentist or hygienist will take time to discuss re-education of proper oral health and tips on preventative care. If any follow-up appointments are required, you should try to schedule these as well as your next checkup before you leave.
Whatever your reasoning was for delaying dental appointments, remember that seeing your dentist regularly is just as important as visiting your primary care physician. Issues in your mouth can affect your entire body, and warning signs, when left untreated, can lead to other serious health concerns.
Has it been longer than you’d like to admit since you have last seen a dentist? Call Dr. Kim Okamura DDS today to schedule a new patient consultation. Learning how you can be proactive in keeping your mouth healthy is the first step to achieving excellent overall health.