5 Things You Didn’t Know Your Dentist Was Doing At Your Dental Checkup
Every six months, most people head to the dentist to get their bi-annual dental checkup. It usually takes about an hour to go through the entire procedure, but in that amount time, your dental team is doing a lot of great things you might not even realize. Have you ever thought about everything that your dental team is doing during your checkup? Chances are, the answer is no.
Your dental hygienist and dentist are looking at your teeth closely to make sure your teeth and mouth, and by extension, you are healthy. To do that, they follow steps that not only clean your teeth, gums, and mouth but monitor them as well. Below are five procedures that are routinely conducted during a bi-annual dental checkup. Some of them may surprise you!
Scraping away harmful plaque and tartar
This one is a no-brainer, but we wanted to mention it anyway because it is so important to the overall health of your teeth and gums. When you’re at home doing your daily brushing (and flossing!), there’s no doubt that you are trying to avoid having plaque build up on your teeth. Unfortunately, plaque is harder to get rid of than a lot of people realize. If left untreated, it can turn into tartar, which can cause cavities and other ailments that led to permanent damage. Bi-annual dental checkups prevent that from happening and allow your mouth to continue to be healthy.
Polishing Your Teeth
After your dental hygienist gets all the plaque and tartar off of your teeth, they go onto polish them with a gritty paste. Polishing teeth helps them stay smooth, remove any surface stains, and prevents plaque from accumulating on the teeth and around the gumline. Again, tartar can lead to a host of issues, so this is an important, and ultimately very helpful, step.
Checking Your Tongue
Did you know that your tongue could clue a dentist into your overall health? Dentists and their teams routinely check the tongue, along with the throat, face, head, and neck to monitor if their patients are exhibiting signs of harmful diseases like cancer or diabetes.
Smelling for Bad Breath
While everyone experiences bad breath, dentists typically check your breath to see if there are any underlying dental issues present in your mouth. Persistent bad breath is a major warning sign of some oral problems like gum disease, dry mouth, or a cavity. It can also point to other serious diseases like pneumonia, a sinus infection, or even diabetes. Halitosis may be a funny word, but bad breath is certainly no laughing matter, especially when it comes to your health.
Looking at Your Bite
As your dentist is looking at your teeth, they are also looking at how your mouth functions overall. When they are assessing your bite, they are looking to see how your teeth align with each other. If you have an overbite or an underbite, you can strain your jaw, which can cause issues later in life. In these cases, your dentist will likely refer you to an orthodontist for corrective treatment.
And those are just a few of the things that dentists and their teams do during a bi-annual dental checkup. If you are due for one yourself, don’t hesitate to call and schedule an appointment today!