What happens during a dental checkup and clean? Today the team at Polished will be breaking down what we are actually doing when you come in for a checkup.
Bib and glasses on, chair laid back.. let the fun begin!
Learn more about Polished Dental’s Checkup process.
Step 1: Clinical photographs and x-rays
At Polished we take clinical photographs at your first visit with cheek retractors and a mouth mirror so that instead of us just bombarding you with numbers, long words and telling you what your oral health looks like to us we can show you! We have found it to be fantastic because a lot of the time people don’t know what is actually happening in their mouth, especially for those harder to see areas. By utilising these photographs of your own mouth and putting them up on the computer screen we can go through each tooth individually and explain to you what treatment you may require, where we are watching, showing you the areas you have said cause sensitivity or pain and what options you have available-it allows you to get to know yourself better and always prompts questions! X-rays are taken because no matter how great our eyesight is or our loops (those funny looking magnifying glasses we wear) we are unable to see underneath the gums, the nerve or under existing fillings. We do not take x-rays unless needed as we do prefer to minimise exposure to radiation as much as we can without compromising our treatment.
Step 2: Soft tissue check
Teeth are just a part of maintaining good oral health- we are also keeping an eye on your cheeks, tongue and muscles around your jaw. The dentist will also do an oral cancer check for you and is looking for any unusual lumps, ulcers or tenderness in and around your mouth.
Step 3: Charting
14distal watch, 28 unerupted, 31 occlusal decay, 47mesial palatal composite… These could be a few of those funny numbers and words you hear us calling out with the dentist is checking your teeth. Each number identifies where in the mouth it is located (upper/lower/front or back) and the surface of the tooth we are speaking about (biting surface/cheek side/in between etc) It is important that we accurately record your dentition (teeth) so that each time you come in for a check up we know exactly what part of each tooth needs watching, what restorations (fillings) you currently have or require, what teeth are missing and the alignment of your bite. That scratching you hear is a sickle probe being used it is a very fine instrument that is ideal for picking up defects in the tooth and for feeling around restorations.
Step 4: Periodontal check
Our gums are the foundations for our teeth and it is essential that they are kept healthy as well. We use a periodontal probe to measure how healthy the gums are and take measurements so we can refer back to them if gum issues are present or arise.
Step 5: Ultrasonic cleaning
That high pitch vibrating feeling is one that people either love or hate. Plaque and Calculus build up on our teeth and no matter how good our brushing and flossing is calculus needs to be removed by a dentist. The ultrasonic scaler we use vibrates and sprays water which allows us to pick off all of the calculus and remove plaque on top of the tooth as well as just under the gum. A handscaler may be used for more stubborn areas and again is one of those scratching noises we love to associate with the dentist.
Step 6: Prophylaxis- Dentist toothpaste!
We use a product called prophy paste which is a lot grittier than regular toothpaste. It is perfect for removing stains and giving you that amazing smooth clean feeling.
Step 7: Fluoride treatment
We highly recommend fluoride to assist in maintaining good oral health so after cleaning your teeth we apply a fluoride treatment. It is a natural mineral that helps build strong teeth and prevents cavities. In Brisbane we do have fluoride in our water and in our toothpaste but the treatment you receive at a dental check up is a higher concentrate and to optimise its effects you will be asked to not rinse or eat for half an hour.
Step 8: Debriefing
At the end of every appointment we always make sure to go over what has been done at the appointment and to make sure we have answered all of your questions! The number one intimidating thing we’ve been told about visiting us is the fear of the unknown- we endeavour to break that cycle.. We love questions and it makes us excited when our patients are interested about our work and their oral health.
Remember we are here to help make the dental checkup as easy for both yourself and your family. Any questions, please ask us!