The American Dental Association recommends regular visits to see your dentist and dental hygienist every six months to maintain your gum and oral health. These appointments can help supplement the brushing and flossing you do at home and remove plaque and other buildup from your teeth during the cleaning or prophylaxis.
Your regular appointments are also a chance for your dental professionals to examine your gums and teeth and diagnose any potential conditions or issues. This can help prevent complications. A dentist may also recommend visits more frequent than every six months if there is a condition which requires monitoring.
The Importance of Good Oral Hygiene
Good oral hygiene is important because it:
- Helps prevent gum disease: Good hygiene helps prevent gingivitis, a gum infection which can lead to periodontitis and even more serious conditions if left untreated.
- Can help a dental professional evaluate your overall health: As part of your hygiene appointment, your hygienist and dentist will evaluate the overall condition of your mouth to determine whether there are any lesions or unusual symptoms which could be a sign of diabetes, HIV or another condition.
- Helps you maintain your teeth: Regular appointments help catch and treat tooth decay, potentially before a root canal or extraction is needed. Keeping teeth whole can help keep your jaw healthy and can ensure you can chew properly. Proper cleaning also keeps your teeth looking their best.
- Helps you stay healthy overall: Your dental health can have an impact on your overall health. Infection can spread from an infection in a tooth or in the gums into the bloodstream, where it can affect the brain and heart. In rare cases, untreated tooth decay can become fatal.
What Happens During Your Dental Hygiene Appointment
Two main things happen during your visit. First, dental professionals conduct a thorough examination. They may request your medical history and take x-rays to determine if there are cavities between teeth. Your dental professionals will also examine your mouth to look for signs of plaque, cavities and tartar.
In an examination of your gums, the spaces between your gums and teeth will be measured. Deep spaces can be an indicator of gum disease. The inside of your mouth will also be checked. In addition, your neck, tongue, face and head will be examined for redness, swelling, cancer symptoms, or any other worrying signs which may warrant further testing.
In addition to an examination, your dental hygiene appointment will include oral prophylaxis, commonly known as a cleaning. This will involve scaling, or the removal of plaque or tartar. In addition, your dental professional may polish your teeth and will finish by flossing. If appropriate, you may be given a fluoride treatment to strengthen your teeth.
In addition to these two main parts of an appointment, every dental hygiene appointment also includes good communication. You may be asked about any symptoms you have experienced, such as jaw pain or difficulty chewing. Your dental hygienist and dentist may also give you at-home instructions or may request additional steps if you have been diagnosed with any condition or if your examination suggested further screening or testing is needed.
Tips for Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene at Home
After your appointment, you can maintain good oral health until your next visit by:
- Flossing daily
- Brushing at least twice daily with a toothpaste containing fluoride
- Using mouthwash to control bacteria which can cause plaque
- Maintaining a healthy diet
- Contacting your dental professional if you notice any worrying signs or symptoms, such as pain in your mouth, headaches in the morning, jaw pain and problems with chewing
- Treating your teeth gently and not chewing on plastic or any materials not intended to be eaten
- Following any instructions your dental hygienist has shared with you
- Replacing your toothbrush (or head of your electric toothbrush) every three months or when the bristles are worn
- Eating a healthy diet with enough calcium and low overall sugar content
- Wearing mouth guards, helmets and other protection for your mouth when playing contact sports
Overview of Our Practice
Good periodontal care is the cornerstone of our practice. Our professional dental hygienists are dedicated to your dental health. They will routinely measure and track your periodontal condition so we can be alerted to any early changes and treat appropriately before irreversible damage is done. At your hygiene appointments, we complete a thorough oral cancer screening, periodontal examination, an evaluation of your teeth and existing restorations for signs of wear, fracture or decay, and evaluate the functional health of your jaw and bite. Through vigilant care, we are able to alert you to potential problems before they become actual emergencies.
Dr. Ari Forgosh and the rest of the team at Green Hills Family & Cosmetic Dentistry are committed to helping patients achieve strong oral health in a comfortable and welcoming setting. For every patient, we work hard to create a calming and caring atmosphere.
Dr. Forgosh is able to tackle complex dental problems, including poor occlusion and TMJ issues. Patients have sought out Dr. Forgosh because they have had these conditions and wanted confident and reassuring help. Our team also focuses on preventive and early intervention care.
Call us today at 484.223.1933 or book online to schedule an appointment with Green Hills Family & Cosmetic Dentistry. Our team is here to help!