5 Questions About Dental Exams

How long has it been since your last dentist appointment? If you’re overdue for a dental exam, you might have developing tooth or gums problems that you’re unaware of. Learn the answers to the top five questions about dental exams to help you realize why they’re so important.

How often should I visit the dentist?

The American Dental Association recommends seeing the dentist every six to 12 months. Ongoing treatment for periodontal disease and other conditions may require dental exams and cleanings three to four times a year.

What are some signs it’s time to schedule a dental exam?

If you stray from the recommended dental exam schedule, you put yourself at risk. Don’t ignore the symptoms of tooth and gum problems! Schedule a dentist appointment right away if you notice:

  • Sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Puffy, red or sensitive gums
  • Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
  • Persistent bad breath or an unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • Pain or swelling in your mouth, face or neck
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Symptoms of dry mouth
  • Your jaw pops or is sometimes painful to open and close
  • A sore in your mouth won’t heal

Should I go to the dentist even if I’m not having any symptoms?

Yes. Dental appointments help you catch problems early so you can begin treatment before potentially painful complications arise. A healthy mouth promotes a healthy body. After all, gum disease is linked to diabetes, stroke, heart disease and other seemingly unrelated health conditions. Preventative dental exams and X-rays can also save you money in the long run by avoiding the need for restorative procedures, such as fillings, root canals and tooth implants.

What happens during a dental exam?

A visit to the dentist begins with a discussion of your recent medical history, including any procedures you’ve had and medications you’re taking. You may also receive X-rays, depending on your treatment plan.

Next, an experienced dentist and hygienist conduct a thorough teeth cleaning. Even if you brush and floss every day, professional cleanings are necessary to prevent cavities and gingivitis. The cleaning process involves using a metal scaler to scrape plaque and tartar from your teeth and along the gum line. Your teeth are polished with a paste and flossed to remove any residual buildup from between your teeth.

The final step is to check for cavities, gum problems and other potential issues. If anything needs to be addressed, the staff will discuss your treatment options.

How can I keep my mouth healthy between dental exams?

To increase the chance of getting a thumbs up from your dentist at your next appointment, remember to do the following:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes.
  • Floss once a day.
  • Consider switching to an electric toothbrush.
  • Avoid candy and sugary drinks.
  • Stop smoking.

To schedule your next dental exam with a qualified Seattle dentist, please contact Zen Dental Center at 206-324-1100.

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