What a Dentist Looks at During a Dental Check-up

Dental Checkup Alexandria, VA

Every dental check-up is unique, but there are certain things that dentists look for with every visit. It is helpful to understand how a dental check-up works and the importance of getting one. Most notably, dentists check the health of each of the patient’s teeth and the gums in addition to checking for early signs of oral cancer. 

Concerns that a dentist checks for during a dental check-up 

A dental check-up every six months allows the dentist to detect any concerns as early as possible and prevent the need for extensive and more costly dental services. During the check-up, the dentist may check the amount of plaque and tartar buildup, determine if there are any dental cavities, and check on the patient’s periodontal health. 

Plaque and tartar build-up

Plaque and tartar develop over time. While good oral hygiene and smart dietary choices can slow down the accumulation of plaque and tartar, regular cleanings are still necessary to minimize the build-up. During a dental check-up, the dentist examines how much plaque and tartar are on the teeth and along the gum line before the cleaning. If there is buildup below the gum line, then the dentist may recommend a deep dental cleaning. 

Dental cavities

Dental cavities form when the enamel (the outer layer of teeth) wears down due to acidic attacks by the combination of bacteria and food particles. Before cavities form, there are signs of weakened enamel, which the dentist can check for during a dental check-up. If weakened enamel exists, then the dentist may recommend a fluoride treatment. Dental cavities can typically be treated through dental fillings or root canal therapy to avoid tooth loss. 

Deep gum pockets

Gum pockets are a sign of gum disease. Dentists can check for gum pockets during the dental check-up. Pockets that are more than 4 mm deep are signs of periodontitis, a more severe form of periodontal disease. This can typically be treated through a deep dental cleaning and improvement in the patient's oral care routine and diet. 

Signs of oral cancer

The dentist may also check the tongue, throat, face, head, and neck for signs of oral cancer. This is not as thorough as an oral cancer screening, however. If any issues are detected, then the dentist may recommend a more extensive screening or a biopsy to determine if oral cancer is present. 

Treatment recommendation

After the dental check-up, the dentist can recommend any necessary treatments. If the patient is in good oral health, then they may only need a routine dental cleaning to remove the buildup of plaque and tartar on their teeth and along the gum line. The dentist may also polish the teeth to help prevent cavities and teeth stains. 

A dental check-up helps keep your smile clean and healthy

Give us a call or send us a message today if it has been more than six months since your last check-up visit. Our dental check-up process is non-invasive, and we can answer any questions and address any concerns that you have during the visit.

Request an appointment here: https://alexoldtowndental.com or call Alexandria Old Town Dental at (703) 763-1078 for an appointment in our Alexandria office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Dental Checkup in Alexandria, VA.

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