No matter how hard you try to keep your teeth clean at home, you’re going to need the help of a professional. There are spots a regular brush can’t reach, and it’s very difficult to do yourself without specialized equipment. It also helps to have a steady hand and a high tolerance for pain, but most people just visit a dentist for a checkup. Here’s what to expect if you haven’t been for years, or plan to have your first one.
Most people need about two checkups each year, unless they’ve not practiced good hygiene. If you haven’t been for a long time, you should expect to need X-rays done. Your dentist may want to know about any medications you’re on, and may have some questions about your health history as well.
When the checkup begins, you’ll be seated in a large and comfortable reclining chair. There has to be lots of light, so the room can feel very bright from your perspective. First, the dentist will scrape off all the tartar above and below the gum line, and then water rinses away what’s left.
Sometimes, a dentist may use an ultrasonic scrubber to try and shake off the tartar and debris that collects on your teeth.
Finally, a paste is put on your teeth to help polish them. Occasionally, that paste has other things mixed in it to help with its abrasiveness and add to the polishing effect. Your hygienist may also give you a flossing, and a lecture about flossing more if you haven’t been doing it enough).
The checkup takes about 30-45 minutes for most people, with deeper cleaning requiring more time. If you haven’t been to the dentist for many years, it’s a good idea to go back.
Article submitted by Dr. Sid Solomon. Dr. Sid Solomon, a licensed TMJ specialist based out of Los Angeles, California, has more than 30 years of experience treating patients.