Cleanings & Exams
Potential discomfort in the jaw, strange noises, and the risk of unfavorable dental exam results have made many people afraid to go to the dentist. But for most people, a dental cleaning is not just bearable, but painless. The procedure becomes a lot less stressful once you know what will happen.
Before we clean your teeth, we usually perform a physical exam for the entire mouth. Our doctor will use a small mirror to look for problems like gum inflammation (gingivitis). If we find anything serious, that may affect how and whether we proceed with the cleaning.
Removing Plaque and Tartar
If you neglect to brush your teeth, the plaque thereon will continue to build and harden into tartar. Once tartar has formed, only a dentist can get rid of it.
If any plaque or tartar has built up between your teeth or around the gumline, we will use the small mirror and a scaler to remove it. It is normal to hear a scraping sound during this part of the cleaning. If there’s more tartar built up in your mouth, we will need more time to remove it. Make sure to brush and floss twice a day to prevent the formation of tartar and plaque.
Cleaning With Electric Brush and Gritty Toothpaste
Once we’ve removed all of the tartar from your teeth, we will deep clean your teeth and remove any tartar that the scaler may have left. For the deep cleaning, we will use a high-powered electric toothbrush and a gritty toothpaste.
This special toothpaste resembles normal toothpaste in taste and scent, but you can choose from a variety of flavors. Polishing your teeth in this manner is safe when a professional does it biannually, but you shouldn’t brush your teeth this roughly yourself. Doing so will weaken the enamel.
Even if you floss your teeth as often as you should, we’ll still mandate a professional flossing. Our doctor can penetrate deep between teeth and pinpoint any spots that may become problematic or parts of the gums that could bleed. This expert flossing session will also get rid of any plaque or toothpaste that might remain from previous stages of the procedure. We will then have you rinse out your mouth to remove any residue.
We like our patients to come in for professional cleanings biannually, while x-rays are usually only taken annually. However, depending on your individual dental plan and what our doctors finds during the dental exam, we may need to carry out other exams while you’re here. For instance, children may need dental sealants on their molars to prevent cavities from forming in those hard-to-reach areas.
But even if you don’t need any further exams, the important thing is to practice good oral hygiene and keep coming back for exams and cleanings once every six months. Brush and floss your teeth twice a day and avoid foods and drinks high in sugar. By this means, you can prevent dental problems that will require detailed and costly intervention.
At MVP Smiles, we tell our patients to come in for dental exams twice a year. These exams help guard your dental health and your overall health, give us a chance to clean your teeth, and allow us to detect and prevent dental problems.
Why are Dental Exams Necessary?
Dental exams allow us to find potential problems early when it’s easier to treat them. Some systemic diseases, such as diabetes, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis, will show symptoms in the mouth before they are manifest elsewhere. If our doctor finds signs of conditions such as these, he will tell you to see your doctor. Dental exams also allow us to teach you about proper oral care.
What Happens During a Dental Exam?
There’s a lot that can happen during a dental exam. Our doctor will evaluate your general health and dental hygiene. He’ll check your teeth for decay and cavities, determining your risk of getting diseased gums or bones, decayed roots of teeth, and evaluate your need for tooth replacement or restoration.
Our doctors will also remove stains on your teeth, check your jaw, bite, neck, and face for abnormalities. We will also check for signs of oral cancer. If necessary, we will perform other diagnostic procedures such as x-rays. X-rays allow us to see detailed images of your mouth to detect problems that not are invisible to us during the previous parts of the exam.
Lifestyle and Diet
You can expect us to bring up your diet, lifestyle, and oral hygiene habits that can affect your dental health. Tobacco products, for instance, can negatively impact oral health. We also demonstrate proper brushing and flossing techniques.
Medications and Health Problems
Our doctor may ask you what kinds of medications you use or if you have any health problems to see how they might affect your oral health. For example, diabetic patients are at a higher risk for gum disease.
Certain kinds of medications can cause dry mouth, which in turn can increase the risk of tooth decay. If you have a condition like arthritis that hinders you from brushing your teeth effectively, our doctors can show you methods to make the process easier. He may also recommend an electric toothbrush.
Results of the Exam
Once the exam is finished, our doctor will discuss your dental health with you. This will include your risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and other oral health complications and will suggest preventative methods you can use to improve your dental health.
The last step is to schedule your next dental exam, which should ideally happen within six months. But if you are at an increased risk of dental health problems such as gum disease or tooth decay, you might need to come in for check-ups more regularly than usual.
For more information, please contact our office at (240) 981-4020.
806 W. Diamond Ave. Suite 250
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
Schedule an Appointment
Monday 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Tues & Wed 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday: 8:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Saturday: By appointment only *
*1 Sat per Month during the school year for orthodontic patients