Professional cleanings performed by a certified dentist or hygienist are just as important to your dental health as daily brushing and flossing. Using specialized tools and training, your hygienist or dentist will:
- Remove plaque build-up from tooth surfaces. Bacteria in the mouth form plaque, which collects on teeth and causes decay, gum disease, and gingivitis.
- Remove tartar from teeth. Tartar, or calculus, is plaque that has become so hardened that its removal requires special procedures. Tartar below the gum line is an indicator of gum disease.
- Remove surface stains from teeth through polishing.
Regular examinations help detect and prevent health issues before they become serious. Consistent dental check-ups help catch problems when they are small and easier to treat. Left unattended, small treatable problems become worse and may require more extensive, expensive procedures to repair. Dental examinations generally include the following:
- Gum disease screening
- Oral cancer screening
- Visual tooth decay evaluation
- Visual gum disease examination
- Gum pocket measurement and tracking
- X-ray examination
X-rays are a primary tool for early identification of dental problems. Detecting issues with x-rays before they become problems can save you money in the long run by preventing the need for more extensive, expensive procedures or surgeries. X-rays are primarily used to detect:
- Internal tooth decay
- Cysts (fluid-filled sacks at the base of teeth)
- Tumors, both cancerous and benign
- Impacted teeth
- Teeth that are still coming in