It can be tempting to want to skip a dental appointment if you are not experiencing oral pain or other troubling symptoms. But routine dental visits are important regardless of whether you have a problem that needs to be addressed. Dentists like Dr. Raymond Hatland do not just treat dental problems, they also help prevent them.
What Happens During a Dental Visit
A routine dental visit typically includes an examination and a professional cleaning.
During a dental examination, Dr. Hatland performs a comprehensive evaluation of your teeth, gums and the soft tissues of your mouth. He checks your teeth for decay and your gums for any changes or signs of periodontal disease; looks for loose teeth, broken teeth or damaged fillings; examines any existing dental appliances; and looks at the contact between your upper and lower teeth and examines the movement of your lower jaw joint, checking for any problems that could affect your temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
Another important part of a routine dental examination is a check for signs of oral cancer. Although you may not notice any abnormalities in your mouth suggesting cancer, Dr. Hatland is highly trained to recognize the signs. Catching oral cancer in its early stages is crucial to successfully treating it.
Our team may also take X-rays during the examination portion of your visit to look at what is happening inside your teeth and below the surface of your gums. Though it may appear to the naked eye that your teeth and gums look good, X-rays help us detect and diagnose problems that you cannot see, such as impacted teeth, damage to the jawbone, bone decay, swelling, cysts and tumors. Without X-rays, these problems may go undetected and lead to severe complications.
During a teeth cleaning, our hygienists use special instruments to clean around and in between your teeth and along your gumline, working to remove plaque and tartar. These instruments can dislodge hardened plaque that your toothbrush cannot remove. We can also reach areas of your mouth that are difficult to target with a toothbrush or floss. We finish the cleaning by polishing your teeth.
As we work, we will discuss the importance of maintaining good at-home hygiene habits, and review recommended brushing and flossing techniques.
How Often Should You Go To the Dentist?
Most patients should visit the dentist every six months for an exam and cleaning. However, Dr. Hatland may recommend you visit more frequently if you have a particular oral health problem (i.e., periodontal disease) that needs closer monitoring.
To request an appointment for a dental exam and cleaning with our team, please call or email our practice today. You can reach our Chicago office by calling (773) 338-4440 or our Indianapolis office by calling (317) 257-0794.