What is a dental check-up?
A dental check-up is a routine procedure performed by a general dentist/oral health therapist every six months. During the appointment the dentist/oral health therapist would examine all of your teeth and gums thoroughly, this helps in the early detection and treatment of issues such as tooth decay, gum disease and other oral health problems such as squamous cell carcinoma. A general check-up may also include diagnostic x-rays, this allows the dentist to see between your teeth, below the gum line and the bone which cannot be seen with the naked eye.
Do I need to have my teeth cleaned by a dental professional?
The secret to a healthy heart is healthy gums, scientists have proven that gum inflammation/periodontal disease (can be genetic or caused by the build up of plaque & calculus) is closely linked to cardiovascular disease. Regular dental cleaning in addition to brushing and flossing at home can reduce gum inflammation and significantly slow down the effects of periodontal disease. Gum inflammation is also the main cause of bad breath and gum recession. If gums continue to recede it will eventually lead to bone loss which can make your teeth less stable. It also exposes the dentin layer of your tooth which sits just below the gum line, exposed dentin can cause your teeth to become sensitive and decay can occur much quicker. People who are at risk of developing periodontal disease should have their periodontal condition closely monitored and managed with regular dental visits.
What is involved in a dental cleaning procedure?
The dentist/oral health therapist will clean your teeth with an ultrasonic scaler to remove any hard deposits of plaque and tartar that cannot be removed with a tooth brush, this also allows the dentist/oral health therapist to see the surface of your tooth that was not visible through these deposits during the initial examination. The dentist may also floss your teeth before or after scaling. Further cleaning is done using a polishing paste which is similar to tooth paste. This removes stains caused by smoking, food and drink such as tea, coffee, wine, curries etc.The last stage of a dental check-up and clean is a fluoride treatment. Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps to remineralise enamel and fight bacteria which can cause decay. The fluoride gel used by a dental professional is a higher concentration than the concentration found in water and toothpaste. It is recommended you have a fluoride treatment with each 6 monthly dental check-up and clean. The dentist may suggest no drinking or eating following a fluoride treatment in order to allow time for your teeth to absorb the fluoride.
What should I do between each dental visit?
Brushing correctly twice a day (no rinsing after brushing) and flossing daily is essential, in addition to this, reducing the amount of sugary foods and drinks you consume will help to reduce your risk of developing dental caries. To reduce staining on your teeth, you should rinse thoroughly with water straight after consuming any coloured foods or drinks.
Why is it important to brush & floss every day?
Daily brushing and flossing your teeth is important because it removes plaque. If the plaque isn’t removed, it continues to build up, feeding on the food debris left behind and causing tooth decay and gum disease.
What is the best technique for brushing?
Place the head of your toothbrush against your teeth and angle it against the gumline. Move the brush in small circular movements, several times, on all the surfaces of each individual tooth. Brush the outer surfaces of each tooth, upper and lower, keeping the bristles angled against the gumline. Use the same method on the inside surfaces of all your teeth. Brush the chewing surfaces of the teeth. To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several small circular strokes with the toe (the front part) of the brush. Brushing your tongue will help freshen your breath and clean your mouth by removing bacteria.
What is the best technique for flossing?
Break off about 18 inches of floss, and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers (as you use the floss, you will take up the used section with this finger). Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the other hand. Hold the floss tightly between your thumb and forefingers, with about an inch of floss between them, leaving no slack. Use a gentle ‘rocking’ motion to guide the floss between your teeth. When the floss reaches the gumline, curve it into a C-shape against one tooth until you feel resistance. Gently slide the floss up and down the side of each tooth. Don’t forget the back of your last tooth. When flossing, keep to a regular pattern. Start at the top and work from left to right, then move to the bottom and again work from the left to right. This way you’re less likely to miss any teeth.