The best way to maintain good oral hygiene is to brush and floss your teeth and to visit your dentist regularly. Your dentist not only examines your teeth for signs of decay or damage, he also looks for early signs of gum disease and oral cancer.
It is normally recommended that you visit your dentist twice a year, although people who have severe gum disease or a weakened immune system may need to visit the dentist more often.
Your dentist will first ask if there have been any problems since your last dental checkup and take a note of any new medication that you may be taking.
At your checkup your dentist will :
- Check for early signs of decay or breakages
- Check existing restorations
- Look at your gums for early signs of gum disease – this will be done using a probe that is gently placed between the tooth and your gum to determine the stage of gum disease
- Examine your tongue, throat, cheeks & lips for signs of oral cancer
- Examine jaw joint evaluation
Periodic exam 2X-rays of your teeth are usually taken every two to three years unless your dentist notices a problem and needs an X-ray to look inside the tooth.
If cavities are found or your dentist feels that your oral hygiene needs to be improved, he will create a treatment plan outlining the work to be carried out and the costing; you will then need to make an appointment for the necessary treatment.
Occasionally, patients are referred to other dentists who specialise in the relevant fields of dentistry.