Preventive Dental Checkups & Teeth Cleanings in Washington DC
Less than a century ago, 50% of adults were fully edentulous (without teeth). Today, less than 10% of adults over 65 have ever lost a permanent tooth. That difference is due in large part to the shift in focus from responsive dentistry to preventive dental care. Responsive dentistry cared for patients after damage occurred, and often resulted in tooth extraction when damage was significantly advanced. Unlike some medical conditions like a cold, tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental health concerns do not get better on their own. Over time, oral health problems get worse when left untreated. Preventive dental care helps patients maintain good oral health at all times, and paired with better at home care and fluoridated water supplies, we have seen significant dental health improvement in a relatively short time. At Aesthetic & Family Dentistry of Washington, we encourage patients to visit us twice a year for a dental examination and teeth cleaning.
The Six Month Checkup
During a regular checkup, patients should expect to receive skilled, attentive care, and personalized treatment plans. Once a year, we take x-rays to document oral health, and look for signs of new or developing dental health concerns. Every appointment includes a thorough visual examination as well as screenings for gum disease, bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching), temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), and oral cancer. To screen for gum disease, we chart the depth of the pockets between teeth and gums. Signs of bruxism and TMD are often more subtle, and we may rely on information from you about possible symptoms in addition to our thorough examination. Oral cancer has many signs and symptoms. The better your dentist knows your regular oral health, the more likely he or she is to diagnose oral cancer in the earliest stages making regular checkups even more essential.
After the examination, patients proceed to their hygiene appointment, and return to meet with the dentist for a one-on-one consultation. During the consultation, we review results of the examination and make recommendations for necessary treatments. We also answer questions and address concerns you may have at this time, and develop a plan for achieving or maintaining optimal oral health.
Additionally, for patients with serious decay concerns, especially younger patients, we offer fluoride treatments and dental sealants to protect and fortify teeth. Fluoride treatments are applied to the surface of teeth following the appointment, and help remineralize weakened enamel. Dental sealants create a barrier between decay-causing bacteria and the tooth’s surface.
Oral Hygiene Appointments
During a professional teeth cleaning, we remove plaque and tartar from hard to reach places on teeth. When we eat and drink, bacteria in the mouth breakdown nutrients and excrete a sticky biofilm often referred to as plaque. Overtime, certain substances in the plaque crystalize and bond to tooth enamel. When this happens, regular brushing and flossing is not enough to remove this hardened calculus, commonly referred to as tartar. Professional cleanings remove all the tartar and plaque from teeth. After the cleaning, we apply a polish, and offer recommendations for changes in at-home care to improve oral health.
Schedule Your Twice Annual Visit Today
Whether it’s been six months or six years since your last dental appointment, it’s time to schedule your next visit. At Aesthetic & Family Dentistry of Washington, our caring team is here to help you achieve and maintain your healthiest smile with outstanding preventive, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry services.