It is important to recognize when it is time to find a dentist for treatment and care. In addition to routine care, emergency visits, and cavity treatment, patients should also contact a dental professional when experiencing gum problems. Although usually minor at first, gum issues can advance quickly and lead to unpleasant dental diagnoses.Gum inflammation,…
Find a Dentist for Preventive Cleanings
According to Today's RDH, the first dental hygiene program began in 1913. Now, most patients look to find a dentist who offers preventive cleanings, also known as prophylactic cleanings. The popularity of this service is due to its effectiveness in preventing gum disease and detecting diseases in the early stages. With an overall shift toward preventive services in the healthcare industry, patients should consider routine dental cleanings when searching for a dental provider.
What to expect during a preventive cleaning
A dental hygienist is often the first person a patient will see at a preventive cleaning appointment. These professionals remove plaque and calculus from the teeth, and they also teach patients about preventive dental care. For this reason, many patients consider the entire staff, including the hygenist, when choosing a dentist.
The dentist a patient chooses should offer the following services during routine appointments:
When plaque hardens on the teeth, it turns into calculus. It is also called tartar. It cannot be removed by brushing; a professional dental cleaning is necessary. Patients often refer to scaling as "scraping" on the teeth. The hygienist may use a metal instrument or one that sprays water to remove this type of deposit.
Polishing and Flossing
Dental polishing removes plaque from the teeth, and it is what many patients consider the "cleaning" part of the appointment. There are fine, medium, and coarse-grit pastes available; the hygienist selects the type based on the amount of plaque and stain present. Many of the pastes contain fluoride. The hygenist also flosses between each tooth.
Soft tissue exam
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, it is projected that approximately 53,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. Risk factors include tobacco use, alcohol abuse, sun exposure, and the HPV virus. Patients should find a dentist who performs an oral cancer check at every appointment. During the soft tissue exam, the dentist will evaluate all oral tissues, the tongue, and the throat. Early detection of this type of cancer is essential in treating it successfully.
Hard tissue exam
When a patient goes for a routine dental cleaning, they expect the dentist to check for cavities. This is considered a hard tissue exam. During this part of the exam, the patient and dentist may discuss any daily habits that are contributing to cavity formation. These can include drinking soda, eating sugary foods, or taking medications that cause dry mouth.
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When looking to find a dentist, patients should choose one who prioritizes preventive care. While many advances have been made in dental treatments, seeking routine care can help patients avoid many restorative services. At each preventive cleaning appointment, the patient, dentist, and dental hygienist should discuss oral hygiene aids and resources to keep the patient's mouth healthy. When there is a concerted effort among the whole team, the patient can look forward to having a healthy smile for life.
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