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5 Things to Expect at Your Dental Cleaning & Consultation

Model tooth with a dental mirror on a white background

When it comes to dental visits, some people may be quite anxious. For a lot of people, this is simply because they do not know what to expect. However, most dental appointments are relatively quick and easy for the patient. 

 

Still, having an idea of what to expect can help manage the fear of the unknown. Furthermore, it can help you to prepare for your appointment. Here are five things that will happen during your dental cleaning and consultation: 

 

Hands holding a dental xray

Dental X-Rays: 

Dental x-rays are an important diagnostic tool that your dentist uses to identify cavities, evaluate the bone structure under the gums, and examine the jaw joint. X-rays that are focused on the entire outside of the head, and focused on the jaw joint, are known as extraoral x-rays. X-rays that are focused on the internal structures, like teeth and gums, are known as intraoral x-rays. Both extraoral and intraoral x-rays will be taken during just before your consultation so your dentist can explain them to you. 

 

Oral Exam: 

Your dentist will perform an oral examination of your teeth, gums, and surrounding structures. Your teeth will be checked for signs of decay or wear. They may also be tested for tooth sensitivity. Your gum pockets will be measured to check for signs of gum recession or gum disease. Your bite will be checked to ensure it is properly aligned. Finally, your jaw will be evaluated to make sure it is functioning properly. 

 

Oral Cancer Screening: 

Unfortunately, oral cancer is on the rise and many dentists have begun implementing oral cancer screenings into their dental exams. You will likely not even know that is what your dentist is doing when they evaluate your gums and surrounding soft tissues. An oral cancer screening simply consists of your dentist using a flashlight to check your soft tissues for changes in color or texture that could indicate oral cancer. For more information about oral cancer, see “Everything You Need to Know About Oral Cancer”.

 

Dental Consultation: 

The dental consultation is where your dentist will discuss your oral and overall health. They will review your dental x-rays and discuss their findings from the dental exam. If needed, your dentist will recommend treatments and answer any questions you may have. Your medical history and list of current medications will also be discussed because these things can play an important role in your oral health and vice versa. Understanding your overall health can help you and your dentist improve your oral care habits. 

 

Computerized image of teeth cleaning

Professional Teeth Cleaning: 

During a professional teeth cleaning, your dentist will use a scaler to scrape the excess plaque and tartar off your teeth. This is highly important because plaque and tartar contain millions of bacteria that lead to tooth decay and gum disease. While plaque can be removed by brushing, tartar can only be removed using a dental scaler. Unfortunately, no matter how well you brush, there are always going to be parts you miss. Regular dental cleanings address these spots and keep your teeth clean and healthy. 

 

Now that you understand what to expect during your dental consultation and cleaning, you can be less anxious. As you can see, the things that occur during a dental consultation and cleaning are essential to maintain your dental health. No need to put that dental appointment off any longer!

 

Dr. Shadi Heidarian

 

Dr. Heidarian has been practicing state-of- the-art general and cosmetic dentistry in the San Francisco, Atherton and Palo Alto area for the last 12 years. She is proud to provide her patients with best in dental technology, treatment options, and patient comfort. Dr. Heidarian is a member of American Dental Association, California Dental Association, and Mid-Peninsula Dental Society. She stays up to date on innovative technologies and advancement in the field through further educations. Dr. Heidarian lives in Los Altos with her husband and her twin girls. She loves traveling, skiing and reading.

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