What To Expect When You Get a Dental Checkup
Knowing what to expect when you go in for a dental checkup can help ease the anxiety of going into the dentist. Usually, you should get a dental checkup every six months to ensure the health of your teeth and gums.
Not only are checkups great for your overall health, but they also give your dentist the opportunity to share tips on caring for your teeth and detect oral health problems early. Here is what you can expect from a typical dental checkup.
Most teeth cleanings are performed by a dental hygiene professional. Before beginning the cleaning, the hygienist will start with an exam of your entire mouth. By using a small mirror tool, the hygienist will check around your teeth and gums for any sign of gingivitis (inflamed gums) or other potential concerns.
If any major issues are detected, the hygienist might call the dentist over to make sure it’s okay to continue.
Cleaning and Polishing
Next, the hygienist will begin to remove any plaque or tartar that has built up on your teeth. They do so by using the mirror tool and scaler. Usually plaque build up happens around the gums and in between teeth, so you’ll notice the hygienist focusing there. The more plaque and tartar there is, the more scraping there will be. Then they will expertly floss your teeth, making sure to get any problem areas where the gums might bleed more. Next, they’ll do a fluoride treatment on your teeth, which is a protectant for your teeth to help fight against cavities for several months.
Another big part of the dental checkup process is education. After the cleaning the dental hygienist will discuss any hygiene problems that were detected. They’ll also show you ways to more effectively brush and floss your teeth, if necessary.
Both the dental hygienist and your dentist will then do an examination on your teeth, gums and mouth to look for signs of any problems, like a cavity, gum disease, or early signs of oral cancer. The dentist will use the mirror tool to get a better view of your teeth and gums, and if they see any issues, they might recommend a special treatment or refer you to a specialist.
At some of your dental visits, your dentist might ask for x-rays of your teeth. A dental X-ray allows the dentist to see detailed images of specific sections of your mouth to help diagnose problems not visible during the dental exam. X-rays aren’t typically needed at every checkup, so your dentist or hygiene specialist will talk to you about your need for x-rays based on your oral health and risk of disease.
Getting regular dental checkups is so important to your overall health. Dentists and hygienists are here to make sure you’re keeping your mouth and teeth in tip top shape. The Dentist of Siouxland is always here to help you and answer any questions you have. Call one of our offices to make an appointment for your next dental checkup!
One Year Update: COVID-19 and Dental Offices
It’s been over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic changed almost every aspect of our daily lives—including regularly visiting the dentist. However, this should soon be a thing of the past. Not visiting the dentist was one of the many ripple-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and even though it is not over, yet, things are looking up.
According to the ADA Health Policy Institute, confidence in going back to the dentist hit a new high since the pandemic started, with 94% of patients stating they are ready to go back to the dentist or they have already have gone back to see the dentist, compared to August of 2020 where only 78% of patients had been back or were ready to go back to the dentist.
If you’re ready for your next dental checkup, contact us today to set up an appointment!
Continued Safety Protocols
As more and more people become fully vaccinated, the CDC has started to provide less-restrictive guidelines for these people. However, most recommended precautions, such as using personal protective equipment, have not changed for health care settings, including dental offices.
Even though we are seeing COVID-19 case numbers trending down, we still ask that you follow our guidelines for your safety and the safety of others, including:
- Do not come to the office if you have any symptoms of COVID-19
- Limit the number of people you bring to your appointment, if possible
- Wear a mask until notified that you can remove it
Per the CDC, we are regularly consulting with our state and local health departments for region-specific information and recommendations, as they monitor trends in local case counts and adjust accordingly.
We understand that you may not feel comfortable quite yet, or you have questions about the protocols we’ve implemented in our office to keep patients safe. You can review our entire list of COVID-19 Safety Protocols or you can contact us and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Take Care of Your Teeth With Regular Dental Checkups
Regular dental care is so important, not only for your dental health, but your overall health as well. It is generally recommended that you should get a checkup once every six months. However, depending on your dental history, your dentist might ask you to come in more.
Typically, dental checkups are easy and painless. Nonetheless, it is always good to know what to expect when going in for your regular checkup.
How You Can Prepare
If you’re looking for a new dentist or if you’re scheduling your first adult cleaning, ask your family and friends for recommendations. Take into consideration the location of the office and if they participate in your dental plan. If you don’t have a dental plan, make sure you take a look at the office’s membership plan and if it fits your needs.
Talk with the dentist if you’re anxious about your visit and communicate what they can do to help make you more comfortable.
What You Can Expect
No matter where you go for your checkup, you can expect several things to happen.
- Cleaning. A dental hygienist will typically bring you back and begin cleaning your teeth. Using a small mirror and tool called a hand scaler, the hygienist will remove all the plaque and tartar from your teeth.
- Expert Flossing. Even if you floss regularly at home, nothing can beat an expert flossing session with a dental hygienist. They can get deep between your teeth and locate any problem spots where you might bleed at the gums.
- Applying Fluoride Treatment. Fluoride treatment is used as a protectant for your teeth to help fight against cavities for several months. Your dental hygienist may ask you what flavor you like best. They’ll then place the foamy gel (or sometimes a sticky paste) into a mouthpiece that fits over your teeth. It’s usually left on your teeth for one minute. Besides the foamy gel, fluoride varnish is also painted onto the teeth with a small brush. Fluoride varnish will harden when in contact with saliva, so you can eat and drink immediately after.
- X-Rays. At some of your dental checkups, you might get x-rays done on your teeth. This is to look for decay, gum disease, or other dental problems. X-rays expose you to radiation so in order to avoid having them done more than necessary, bring copies of previous X-rays with you when you’re visiting a new dentist.
What To Do In Between Regular Dental Checkups
After your exam, the dentist or hygienist will discuss your oral health, including your risk of tooth decay, gum disease and other oral health problems, and preventive measures you can take to improve and protect your oral health. Be sure to take care of your teeth and gums in between your regular dental visits. Plaque is always forming on your teeth, but you can manage it by brushing and flossing regularly. Make sure to schedule your next appointment to ensure you keep on track with your checkups.
Regular dental checkups are a must to keep a healthy and clean mouth. Remember to talk with your dentist about any issues you are having with your teeth right away. Here at The Dentist of Siouxland, we’re always here to help you. Call us at 712-276-8391 to get an appointment for a dental checkup. The key is to keep going back to the dentist for regular teeth cleanings to prevent problems altogether. By understanding what is going on in advance, you’ll feel more at ease and maybe even look forward to visiting your dentist!
Scared of the Dentist? Don’t Stress — Let’s Talk.
If you get anxious about going to the dentist, you’re not alone. Not by a long shot. Some studies show nearly three-fourths of American adults experience anxiety or outright fear when they even think about visiting the dentist. About 1 in 10 Americans experience enough fear to classify it as a phobia. It’s okay. We know going to the dentist can seem scary!
But avoiding dental care as a result of dental anxiety can result in serious consequences for you and your teeth. Even if you’re nervous about going to the dentist, it’s extremely important to do what’s necessary to keep your mouth clean and healthy.
We want all of our patients to be as comfortable as possible when they visit our office, so we do everything we can to give our guests a comfortable, calming environment. But there are a few things you can do on your own to help make your visit a little easier.
One: Talk with your dentist
If you’re stressed about your upcoming visit to our office, one of the best things you can do is talk with us about it. Having a clear understanding of what your visit will be like – even visualizing what will occur during your appointment – can do wonders. It’s possible we can make special accommodations to make things more comfortable for you. You’re not the first person who’s been worried about a visit to your dentist’s office, and you won’t be the last! We’re here to help.
Two: Take deep breaths
We all know that deep, relaxing breaths can help reduce our stress, but sometimes we need a reminder. If you’re feeling anxiety about your visit as you drive to our office or you begin feeling fear as you sit in our waiting room, begin by taking a deep breath in, holding it for a second, and slowly letting it out. That’s the most basic start toward relaxation, and it works for almost any situation. Continue relaxing breaths throughout your appointment.
Three: Bring a friend
Bringing someone you trust to our office with you is one of the best ways to reduce the stress of your dental appointment. Not only will your companion’s presence be comforting, but that person can help make sure everything is going well and get you home safely if you’re under the effects of anesthesia. Pleasant conversation can distract you from your nervousness and help pass the time more quickly.
Four: Plan your appointment well
Yes, life is stressful. But you don’t need the stress of life to cause extra anxiety during your dental appointment. If you’re already nervous about your visit, it won’t help to carry in the anxiety of a bad day at work. Schedule your appointment for a day when you don’t have anything big going on outside of our office. If you have a dental appointment scheduled, try to keep the rest of the day clear. That way, your mind can be rested and fresh for your procedure.
Whatever the cause of your anxiety over a visit to our office for your cleaning or other dental procedure, we can manage it together. We want all our patients to be as comfortable as possible, and we want you to look at your visit to the dentist as a good thing. If you have any questions about a dental procedure, or if there is something we can do to ease your worry, give us a call at (712) 255-1440 We’ll work as a team to keep your next visit to the dentist stress-free!