It’s not JUST a cleaning
A dental cleaning, also known as a dental prophylaxis, or prophy, for short, involves much more than scraping crud off your teeth. That check-up you’re supposed to do at least every six months is key to maintaining optimal oral and general health. Stop rolling your eyes at me and listen up…
When you come for that visit, we are checking way more than just your teeth. Patients are more likely to visit their dentist far more frequently than their family doctor. When the dentist asks you about your medical health history, she wants to be certain that dental procedures will not adversely affect any existing medical conditions. Your Dentist can also be acutely aware of visible signs that may warrant a suggestion to visit your doctor.
Common medical conditions that dentists frequently find in unaware patients include skin cancers, oral cancers, GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease), diabetes, auto-immune disease, high blood pressure and chronic sleep apnea. These and many other diseases can manifest themselves in certain ways in the mouth. So in addition to checking your teeth and gums, we’re also looking out for your general health.
When the dentist checks your teeth, he is looking for inflammation of the gums, health of the supporting bone, tooth decay, cracks and wear that can lead to fractures. Plaque and tartar levels are evaluated to gain a better understanding of the causes of any dental problems you may have.
By the time the actual cleaning has started, the dentist has a clear idea of the patient’s oral and general health. The rest is pretty routine… clean and polish, review and reinforce oral hygiene and set up for the next visit, sooner if the patient has a problem.
Almost invariably, patients that make regular and consistent appointments for dental check-ups are the one’s with the best oral and general health… so what’s keeping you? Call your dentist and make that appointment, start off 2017 with healthy teeth.