Dental Hygiene Appointments
The Australian Dental Association advises a thorough dental examination and professional scale and clean every 6 months, with x rays updated every 18 months (in most cases, this is dependent on your “risk” level for dental disease and will be assessed at your first and future examinations).
The purpose of a dental examination is to detect problems at the earliest possible stage, to ensure swift and minimally invasive treatment which is normally cheaper and less traumatic than if the problem was left to worsen. For example, a small cavity/hole is relatively easy and cheap to restore. If left for months or years, the cavity progresses and the treatment, cost and prognosis becomes more complex. The basis of dental care is “regular and ongoing maintenance”.
Some patients will decline x rays (for a number of reasons), however, it must be understood that a complete check up and diagnosis of any problem requires x rays. This allows detection of decay or pathology occurring under the clinically visible surface. An analogy we sometimes use to explain this further is that a Medical Doctor would need a “blood test” to diagnose diabetes.
What can I expect at my Check Up and Clean appointment?
A clinical examination
Your dentist will use a mirror and other instruments to check the condition of the teeth and gums (sometimes you might feel slight discomfort when the gums are being assessed)
X rays (radiographs)
Depending on what needs to be investigated and how long it has been since your last set of x rays – you may have a large panoramic x ray taken (especially if you have not had your wisdom teeth removed or you are suffering jaw pain/ toothache), 2 small x rays to check between posterior teeth for decay and/or gum disease
Oral Hygiene Instruction
Every patient will experience some form of gum disease in their lifetime, if your gums bleed or gum disease is detected, we will show you techniques to make them healthy again (because healthy gums don’t bleed). You may be surprised to know that gum disease is linked to other health issues such as Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease and so it is not only important for you oral health – but your GENERAL WELLBEING too.
Scale and Polish
Every 6 months you should have the buildup (calculus/tartar) removed professionally. This buildup inhibits your ability to clean your teeth and gums effectively and leads to decay and/or gum disease. Some people find this procedure “unpleasant” and “sensitive”, however, James will endeavour to provide a gentle delivery and the latest equipment allows him to ensure this procedure is done without very much discomfort at all most of the time.
Relevant dietary or lifestyle advice
Contributing to oral disease is given to educate people on what causative factors exist in their lives that is resulting in dental disease. For example, smoking is a leading cause of oral cancer or precancerous lesions in the mouth and so it is very important that you consider the advice given by your dentist to cut down, and preferably quit.
A brief outline of treatment requirements. We find that sometimes there is so much information given to patients at the first appointment that it is important to have something tangible to take away and review. Our treatment plans and patient education has proven to increase patient understanding of treatment requirements and helps patients to recognise where in the mouth those treatments are required.