Exams for Peace of Mind
Oral Cancer Screenings
As part of our bi-annual exams, we will perform a comprehensive oral cancer screening for every patient. Using intraoral cameras, they will look for signs of oral cancer such as lesions, irregular patches of tissue, and other potential indicators. In the rare case that we discover a potential sign of cancer, this allows you to get the treatment you need right away and identify the issue as early as possible.
How often Should
I see my dentist?
As recommended by the ADA, you should go to the dentist every 6 months for regular dental cleanings and checkups, at the minimum. Some people who are more prone to developing cavities, who wear dentures, or have conditions like diabetes or dry mouth, may need to visit more frequently, such as every 3 to 4 months.
Regular dental cleanings and checkups catch warning signs of oral health problems early enough to reverse them, and the removal of plaque and tartar buildup prevents tooth decay and gum disease.
Even when you believe you’re in good oral health and practice good oral hygiene at home, x-rays can tell another story of your tooth and gum health that isn’t necessarily seen visually. It’s also important to know that once plaque hardens into tartar, it cannot be removed at home.
It requires professional cleaning by a dentist to remove tartar, which if left untreated, causes gum disease. Regular dental visits are all about early detection and prevention, which can save you a considerable amount of money on invasive dental treatments for oral health issues that
why do I need
Flossing is just as important as brushing your teeth when it comes to removing food particles and plaque. While brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste will remove plaque buildup and food particles from the front, back, and chewing surfaces of your teeth, they can’t reach between your teeth, where food particles are prone to get stuck.
Leaving food particles behind in the mouth will increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Plaque feeds off of sugars that are left behind in the mouth and converts them into acids which attack your tooth enamel and lead to cavities.
It’s important to first make sure you’re flossing once a day but it’s also important to consider when you floss. Believe it or not, flossing before you brush your teeth makes plaque removal more effective. When you floss after brushing your teeth, you’re more likely to leave some food particles behind on the surface of your teeth.
why do I need
X-rays are used to diagnose oral health problems that can not be seen by looking inside of the mouth with the human eye. While we may not spot any problems with the outward appearance of your teeth or gums, an x-ray can reveal issues below the surface, such as bone loss, an infection, or decay.
X-rays are taken routinely about every 1-3 years as a preventative tool unless you go to a dentist that does not already have your x-rays on file or if you have suffered from dental trauma, have impacted wisdom teeth, or are presenting with other oral health symptoms that we would like to take a closer look at.
X-rays may also be taken to determine if you have sufficient jaw bone density for certain restorative procedures such as dental implants or dental bridges.
What Is included
in a Dental Cleaning and Exam?
During an oral exam, we will look for signs of oral health problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. If we notice any signs or if you haven’t had x-rays taken in a few years, we will take some x-rays of your mouth to look closer at the deeper tissues of your teeth and gums.
This can sometimes reveal oral health problems that couldn’t be detected with the naked eye. An oral cancer screening will also be conducted with an intraoral camera by looking for any abnormalities in your soft tissues such as lesions.
Oral cancer is reversible in the early stages so early detection is essential. If we detect any abnormalities, we will biopsy them and send them off for further lab testing to check for cancer. Then, it’s time to clean your teeth. A scaler scrapes off plaque and tartar above the gum line, around and between your teeth.
Then, we’ll polish your teeth with a powerful electric toothbrush and a special gritty toothpaste that buffs off surface stains and lingering bacteria.
To remove debris from the toothpaste and food particles and plaque that could be stuck between the teeth, we will floss each of your teeth and rinse out your mouth with a mouthwash containing fluoride.
Finally, a fluoride varnish is applied to your teeth to remineralize and strengthen your teeth as well as protect them from cavity-causing bacteria and acids. This entire process only takes 30 minutes to an hour and you will need to avoid eating for 30 minutes after your fluoride treatment so that it properly absorbs into your teeth.
The Importance of
Getting Your Teeth Cleaned Every 6 Months
There are many reasons why the ADA recommends that patients attend dental cleanings and checkups every 6 months. The primary reason is for early detection and prevention of serious oral health problems that can cause deterioration of your gum health and lead to tooth loss.
Gum disease, tooth decay, and oral cancer are all preventable, treatable, and reversible if caught early enough. However, if you don’t attend dental appointments regularly, you allow more time for plaque and tartar to accumulate, gums to become more inflamed, and decay to reach the deeper layers of your teeth.
Cleanings and exams make sure that these problems never form in the first place by creating an ideal oral environment free from plaque and tartar. These regular visits will also maintain the whiteness of your teeth and freshen your breath. Through regular care, you prevent the need for invasive restorative treatment.
Surface stains and odor-causing bacteria build up over time and it’s not too long before they start wreaking havoc on your breath and smile. Contact us at Mestichelli Barnes Dental Associates to schedule a dental cleaning with Dr. Bill Mestichelli or Dr. Michael Barnes.
How Do I Care
for My Teeth Between Dental Visits?
Even though we perform scaling during dental cleanings to remove plaque and tartar buildup, this is only once every 6 months. In between these visits, it’s still important to prevent plaque from accumulating by brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes and flossing between all of your teeth once a day.
Bacteria also stick to the tongue so brush your tongue with a tongue scraper or your toothbrush. Use fluoride mouthwashes and drink fluoridated water to prevent cavities. Eat a nutritious varied diet that is low in sugar and limit snacking throughout the day to reduce cavity risk.