What Should a Good Dentist Do for You?

By Steven H. Poulos, DDS

We all know that dentists tell us to get our teeth checked and cleaned twice a year. Sometimes more.

Of course the dentist will check for cavities and clean your teeth. And it is necessary that you attend to the health of your teeth and gums by having regular cleanings and exams. But there are other things that a good dentist will do at a check up to prevent future problems with teeth and gums and to maintain current health.

A dentist can gain insight into your overall condition and dental situation by discussing with you your medical history. He should ask about any medications you are taking, any existing health situation and any illness.

A dentist will do x-rays to find cavities. But additionally, he should check x-rays for bone and teeth position, and for cysts, tumors and any loss of bone.

A check of the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues and gums should be done to screen for oral cancer.

Periodontal disease should be evaluated by an examination of gums and bone around the teeth. Periodontal disease is gum disease.

Using specific dental tools, the dentist will look on all surfaces of the teeth for any decay.

Calculus is a hardened plaque that clings to teeth over a longer period of time. This has to be removed with specialized dental tools. Since it is steadfastly attached to the surface of teeth, it cannot be removed with brushing or polishing. A good dentist will perform this removal.

Plaque, a sticky combination of bacteria, food particles and saliva which is nearly invisible, must be removed. If the plaque has caused inflammation, that can be the beginning of gum disease.

Polishing the teeth removed stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.

A dentist can and should recommend whatever is needed for you to maintain good oral health, such as special cleaning appliances, electric toothbrushes and various mouth rinses.

A review of dietary habits should be made by your dentist. Your eating habits play a very important role in your dental health.

A visit to the dentist should include a lot more than just a check for dental decay and cleaning your teeth! - 30540

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