Perhaps the most important procedure in dental care is the semi-annual examination and prophylaxis. At your six month checkup appointment, we usually perform three services vital to maintaining dental health.
1. Oral examination
The dentist will examine your teeth, gums and other oral tissues to detect if there is any disease present. With visual examination and specially designed instruments, the dentist will look for evidence of dental caries (cavities), periodontal (gum) problems, and any other changes from normal, healthy tissue.
2. Radiographs (x-rays)
An important part of any dental examination is the dental x-ray. Radiographs allow us to see inside your teeth and jaw, and help us detect and evaluate disease that cannot be seen from an oral examination alone. Cavities and gum disease, as well as many other conditions affecting the jaws, can be detected using x-rays.
A few (4 to 6) checkup x-rays are usually taken at each dental checkup visit. A full mouth series of radiographs (about 18 x-rays) is usually taken at the first adult dental visit, and then once every 3 to 5 years.
3. Prophylaxis (dental cleaning)
A dental prophylaxis is performed twice a year for most people. Prophylaxis means “prevention,” and that is exactly what it is for. Over time, tartar and plaque build up on your teeth. Even the best brushers and flossers can have calculus (tartar) build up over time. If it is not removed, bacteria that cause gum disease can begin that harmful process.
4. Treatment Plan
After completely evaluating your oral condition, the dentist will come up with a treatment plan. The plan can be very simple, such as instructing you in home care, or more complex, depending on the amount and type of oral disease.