Many people should see their dentists once or twice a year. We will examine your teeth and gums for signs of tooth decay, gingivitis, and other health problems. Your dental hygienist will begin to clean your teeth by scraping hard mineral buildup (tartar) off of your teeth with a small metal tool. Then the hygienist will floss your teeth, use a polishing compound, and apply fluoride. Cleanings usually aren’t painful.
Occasionally we will want to take X-rays. The X-rays take only a few minutes. When Dr. Mott or a technician will have you put on a heavy apron to shield your body from X-rays. Everyone else in the room will either wear a protective apron or step behind a protective shield. We will have you bite down on a small piece of plastic, this will help align the teeth properly for the machine. We will repeat this process several times to get pictures of all your teeth.
If needed, Dr. Mott will put a sealant on the chewing surface of your back teeth to help prevent cavities. Sealants keep food and bacteria from getting stuck in the rough chewing surfaces or grooves of your teeth, and they protect your teeth from plaque. We may apply a fluoride solution directly to your teeth to help prevent tooth decay, sometimes it may recommend a series of fluoride applications.
If you are prone to infections, or if infections are particularly dangerous for you, you may need to take antibiotics before you have some types of dental work. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about the need for antibiotics. You may need to take antibiotics if you:
Dr. Mott or our hygienist may ask you about the foods you eat. What you eat and whether you get enough vitamins and minerals can affect your dental health.
If you have active tooth decay or gum disease, we will talk to you about changing your brushing or flossing habits. In severe cases, Dr. Mott may recommend antibiotics, special mouthwashes, or other dental treatments. If your teeth and gums appear healthy, your dentist will recommend that you continue your usual brushing and flossing.