Your Oral Hygiene Visit
What You Need to Know About Your Oral Hygiene Visit
Protecting one of your most valuable assets — your smile —through regular oral hygiene visits can help keep it sparkling for a lifetime.
Sure, you may take excellent care of your teeth at home with daily brushing and flossing. Yet regular oral hygiene visits are vital for keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy, preventing potentially serious problems. We can help you learn how to keep your smile looking its best!
What happens during oral hygiene visits?
Depending upon your unique situation and dental health, your visit may include any combination of the following diagnostic, preventive or educational services:
- Take necessary cavity-detecting x-rays
- Assess your periodontal (gum) tissue
- Evaluate existing dental restorations for proper fit, function and aesthetics
- Check your bite, chewing and swallowing patterns
- Review and update your medical history
- Record any changes in your prescribed medications and physical condition
- Evaluate possible cosmetic enhancements of your smile
- Identify any cause of bad breath (halitosis)
- Examine and screen for oral cancer
- Check your blood pressure
- Refer you to specialists for specific treatment
- Develop a comprehensive treatment plan
- Clean and scale teeth to remove all plaque and calculus (tartar)
- Remove surface stains from the teeth
- Apply pit and fissure sealants to help prevent decay
- Fluoride application
- Polish teeth and gold, silver or composite resin fillings or crowns
- Instruction in tooth brushing and flossing
- Counseling in proper nutrition
- Presentation of prescribed dental treatment
- Recommending future treatment (orthodontics, periodontal therapy, etc.)
How often should oral hygiene services be scheduled?
Because each patient’s needs are different, you should check with us to see what’s appropriate for you. Typically, oral hygiene visits are scheduled for every six months.
When should oral hygiene services begin?
It’s important that children visit a dentist when they are one year old or have their first tooth. By beginning exams at an early age, we have time to create positive experiences for your child to set the stage for a lifetime of quality dental care.
How do I maintain dental health between visits?
A beautiful smile is up to you! In addition to regular oral hygiene visits, it’s important that you eat a balanced diet and make sure to floss and brush every day.
During your appointment, we’ll be happy to show you the type of toothbrush that’s best for you. Typically, you should choose a toothbrush with soft, nylon bristles that are smooth and rounded.
Be sure to replace your toothbrush every three months to minimize harmful bacteria buildup that can cause colds, flu viruses or gum disease.
What’s the correct way to brush?
- Place the head of the toothbrush next to your teeth, with the bristle tips at a 45-degree angle next to the gumline.
- Move the brush back and forth in a small circular scrubbing motion.
- Brush the outer surfaces of all teeth, upper and lower. Make sure you keep the bristles angled against your gumline.
- Now brush the inside tooth surfaces, using the same brush strokes.
- To reach the inside surfaces of your front teeth, tilt your brush vertically and use gentle, up-and-down strokes with the head of the brush.
- Scrub the chewing surfaces of all back teeth.
- Brush the tongue from back to front to remove odor-producing bacteria.
Brush the outer surfaces of all teeth, upper and lower. Make sure you keep the bristles angled against your gumline.
How do I remove plaque by flossing?
Plaque is a bacteria-laden white substance which forms on the teeth and contributes to tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. Effective flossing will help remove plaque missed by brushing before it contributes to these harmful effects. Here’s how to floss:
- Use a piece of dental floss approximately 18 inches long. Wind each end of the floss around your middle fingers.
- Holding the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers, leave about 1” to 2” of floss. Use a gentle, back and forth motion to guide the floss in between your teeth. Avoid snapping the floss, which may cause unnecessary irritation to the gums.
- When the floss is at the gumline, curve it into an arc around each tooth until there is mild resistance.
- Holding the floss in the arc position, gently slide it up the side of the tooth, making sure the floss goes under the gumline. Move the floss up and down (not back and forth) several times to remove the plaque from under the gum.
- Repeat this procedure on both sides of each tooth.
When the floss is at the gumline, curve it into an arc around each tooth until there is mild resistance.
Getting into the habits of good oral hygiene and sound nutrition are the best things you can do to preserve your smile and keep it looking its best. In addition to daily brushing and flossing, it’s important to schedule regular oral hygiene visits so we can help prevent many of the problems that lead to tooth decay and loss. Our goal is to help you preserve your smile for a lifetime.