For the health of your mouth and your smile, we recommend
a cleaning twice a year. The doctors may recommend more
frequent visits (3 to 6 times per year) for patients
with special needs.
Dental cleaning includes removing plaque and tartar from
the surface of the teeth. The hygienist also cleans just
below the gum line to prevent the progression of gingivitis
and periodontal disease. If necessary, the doctors may either
use a local anesthetic ("Novocain") or nitrous oxide ("laughing
gas") for those patients with increased sensitivity
Routine Examination and X-Ray
A comprehensive examination is recommended at least once
a year. It covers the teeth, gums, lining
of the mouth, tongue, and salivary glands. In addition
to looking for evidence of tooth decay, gum disease and
other conditions affecting the health of the mouth, the
dentist will also evaluate the patterns and behaviors
of the patient that affect oral health. Things like smoking,
drinking, recreational drug use or even clenching teeth
that may affect the condition
of the teeth, gums and jaw.
When needed, X-rays are taken to see what is going on
underneath with the roots, jaw and bone structure. A
full set of X-rays
is typically done once every five years. They include
cavity detection as well as bite-wing analysis.
Patients with gum disease need to be seen more often to monitor
the condition as well as provide complete maintenance.
The maintenance program for gum disease alternates between
dentist office visits and visits to a periodontal specialist.
Gum disease, even when treated, is still susceptible to
inflammation and infection from plaque and tartar. Regular
oral hygiene is not enough to prevent this, so special
care is required.