Dental Checkups and Cleanings

Dental Checkups

Hopewell Dental Care is committed to providing you with professional experience. At your dental checkup, you’ll be examined by a dental hygienist and a dentist. Each play a unique role in keeping your mouth healthy.

Important dental facts:

A dentist plays a role in your overall health.

Chronic inflammation from gum disease has been linked to many health conditions and certain chronic illnesses can make you more susceptible to gum disease. Your dentist cares about your overall health, not just your mouth. That’s why you’ll be asked questions regarding your entire medical history.

Here are a few examples of the connection between your mouth and your health:

Pregnancy – Pregnancy causes an increase in your body’s blood flow, more acid in your mouth and an increase in your hormone levels. This can cause gingivitis (red, swollen gums), loose teeth, periodontitis, tooth decay and other issues. Some research even shows a relationship between gum disease and premature birth and low birthweight.

Heart disease – Left untreated, gum disease can cause inflammation and this has been linked to blockages of blood vessels, strokes and other heart conditions.

Diabetes – Those living with diabetes can be more likely to develop more severe gum problems. Plus, having diabetes can make you prone to more infections.

Rheumatoid arthritis – Research shows a link between patients with rheumatoid arthritis and periodontal disease. One study showed that nonsurgical treatments for gum disease resulted in improvements in RA symptoms.

Every age needs a general dentist

The American Dental Association recommends a child has his or her first dental appointment after the first tooth appears but no later than his or her first birthday. If a child learns good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) at a young age, it sets the stage for a lifetime of good oral hygiene.

As we age, however, different dental issues can start, which is why routine dental cleanings should be a part of everyone’s life.

Common Questions About Regular Dental Cleanings

Why am I asked about my medical history?

We ask if you have any health conditions because some medical issues impact your oral health. After all, everything in the human body is connected. Remember to bring a list of prescription medications with you to your appointment since your medication usage could affect your treatment. In addition, you’ll be asked if you have had any drug reactions in the past, recent illnesses, etc.

This is the perfect time for you to tell us your concerns. If you are sensitive to cold or hot foods or notice any other issue when you eat, tell us. We’re here to help.

What happens during a dental checkup?

Even if you brush and floss your teeth regularly, you still need a dental cleaning. The hygienist will use a scaler to remove the build-up of plaque and tar between your teeth and around the gum line. Next, the hygienist will polish the teeth and floss. Depending on if you floss regularly, your gums might be a little tender after the cleaning. The tenderness will not last long and it will not interfere with eating or talking.

Why are x-rays taken at my dental cleaning?

By taking an x-ray, the dentist can see cavities and gum disease. The x-ray also lets the dentist see the position of the teeth below the gum line and find dental problems such as impacted teeth, abscesses, cysts, bone loss, etc. Tooth decay can happen quickly; the x-ray lets the dentist catch the decay at the earliest stage.

What does the dentist look for when examining my teeth?

The dentist is primarily looking for tooth decay and signs of gum disease. When looking at your gums, if the dentist sees swelling or redness, that’s an indication of gum disease. But, the dentist can also see clues that you might have diabetes or other health conditions and suggest you discuss this with your primary care physician.

Can the dentist also screen for oral cancer at my dental checkup?

Asking your dentist for an oral cancer screening the one best decisions you can make. Did you know the five-year survival rate for oral cancer is as low as 60 percent? Your dentist is knowledgeable and willing to help screen you for this disease.

What happens after the dental cleaning?

Based on what we see and what you’ve told us, we’ll put together a comprehensive treatment plan, that’s customized for your specific needs. If we notice the start of gum disease, we’ll explain what you can do to prevent it from getting worse. If you mentioned you’re concerned about bad breath, have a dry mouth or any other issue, we’ll discuss what you can do at home to improve the situation.