Regular dental cleaning and dental exams are the best way to maintain your oral health and the look of your teeth. Combined with proper at-home care, preventative care (visits to your dentist) can mean a lot fewer problems over your lifetime.
It gives your dentist a way to keep tabs on your oral health and catch things like periodontal disease (gum disease), cavities, and tooth decay early so they can be treated before they become larger problems.
Each dental office will vary slightly in their process, but a typical check-up/cleaning appointment would involve the following:
- Dental X-rays: These are a way for your dentist to track what’s going on inside your mouth. They’re helpful to watch for signs of cavities and gum disease. Typically x-rays are done once a year.
- Cleaning and polish: Using both manual scalers and ultrasonic scalers, the dental hygienist will remove plaque and tartar buildup from your tooth surfaces. Once that’s done, they’ll polish your teeth with a small rotating rubber cup or brush, making sure to get any remaining stains or plaque.
- Flossing: One of the most important steps! This allows the hygienist to get in between your teeth to clean out any excess plaque and tartar.
- Fluoride treatment: It’s likely that your dentist will want to use fluoride, which strengthens your teeth. This typically is done through plastic trays or a newer version that allows a gel to be brushed directly onto your teeth. *If you are getting fluoride, it’s important to remember that you have to wait 30 minutes to eat after application!
- Examination: Through the cleaning process, your hygienist will be taking a look at your teeth, tongue, gums, and mouth for signs of potential issues. Your dentist should also be looking at your mouth at each visit. There may be some special tools used if they need to measure any pockets between your gums and teeth. If you have any visible problems, your dentist will discuss your treatment options with you.
- Education: Once the cleaning is completed, your dentist and/or hygienist should spend time discussing any of the oral issues they discovered and provide tips on how to more effectively brush and floss your teeth.
How often you need to come in for a teeth cleaning varies based on your individual needs. In most cases, your dentist will recommend coming in once every 6 months for a cleaning and check-up. If your teeth are more prone to plaque, there is often a benefit to coming in at the 3-month mark, in between full check-ups, to have your teeth scaled.
At our Winnipeg dental office, we recommend comprehensive exams for our new patients. A comprehensive exam is a very thorough evaluation of your dental health and does tend to take longer than a regular dental check-up. This holistic review means you can be more confident in choosing a treatment option that will work best for you and provide longevity.
The comprehensive exam typically includes:
- An overview of your oral & medical history so that we can get a good initial understanding of your needs and tailor the rest of the exam. Usually, this information comes to us through the intake paper.
- Checking your chewing muscles for soreness, and looking for any clicking, grinding or pain in your jaw joint (TMJ). This is the extraoral exam.
- Examining your throat, cheeks, and tongue, as well as the soft tissue in your mouth as part of the intraoral exam. This is how the dentist checks for abnormalities that could need more attention. It also involves looking at your teeth, surrounding gum tissue, and checking your fit and bite.
After your dentist has had a chance to complete the exam and review the records, they’ll sit down with you to discuss in detail. Comprehensive exams are a great way to get the information needed to help bring your dream smile to life.
In some cases, your dentist may recommend repeating the comprehensive exam every 3-5 years. It’s really dependent on your individual oral health status and needs. That said, it’s important that you keep to regular dental checkups in between the comprehensive exams.
We offer direct billing to most insurance companies, accept all major credit cards and offer payment plans.
New patients save $65*
on a comprehensive exam.
*Original price $359. Additional units of scaling may be required. Insurance coverage may be limited depending on your annual maximum and the last time you made a dental claim, as some treatments are limited to certain frequencies. For example, some plans cover a Comprehensive Exam once every 2-3 years.