What does a dentist do?
Most people already know how important going to the dentist fishers in regularly is and it is a way for you to maintain good oral health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 35.1% of adults and 15.1% of children in the U.S. don't maintain a regular schedule of dental appointments. That number of people going too long between dental appointments or not going to dental appointments at all is too many.
If you take care of your teeth at home by brushing and flossing, do you still need to go to the dentist for regular exams and cleanings? Brushing and flossing are not enough to prevent diseases and keep your teeth from having problems. You can expect the dentist to perform an oral exam, dental x-rays, oral cancer screening, scaling and polishing, fluoride, sealants, and home care instruction.
During a typical appointment with the dentist, your mouth, teeth, gums and tongue will be examined to identify areas of concern. The dentist will check for signs of tooth decay and see if there are indications that the tooth enamel has lost its strength. The dentist may be able to prevent cavities with these steps. Next, the dentist will measure the spaces between your teeth and the gums on either side to determine if there is gum disease present. The dentist will be able to prevent bone loss or stop you from losing more bone density. After that, the dentist will review your bite to see if there are any signs that your dental health will be compromised. Finally for children, the dentist will review their tooth development and keep an eye on the permanent teeth as they come in.
Dentists use x-rays to reveal hidden cavities and use them frequently at routine checkups. The x-ray can show the dentist about the health of your jaw bone and the position of any developing teeth in children and adolescents.
Oral Cancer Screening
At every appointment the dentist will check your mouth for symptoms of oral cancer in order to catch it as early as possible. The dentist will hold your tongue with gauze and check all throughout your mouth for signs of cancer. Your neck and jaw can indicate cancer related problems so the dentist will check that area in order to be thorough.
After your teeth have been cleaned during your dental appointment, the dentist may offer you a fluoride treatment. Most of the time these treatments are used on children to strengthen their teeth and enamel long term, but they have been proven to help prevent decay in adults. The dentist can use a variety of different forms for their fluoride treatments, including gel, rinse, foam and varnishes. Depending on the form, the dentist may apply your fluoride treatment with a swab, brush, tray or an oral rinse.
The dentist can use a sealant to prevent decay especially on molars towards the back of your mouth. The thin coating is applied to the chewing surface and can last five to ten years before it should be reapplied.