It may seem counterintuitive, but coming in to see us more often is actually a great way to see us less often in the long run. Along with good oral hygiene habits at home, checkups and cleanings every 6 months are the foundation of a healthy smile and prevent many major dental problems. And, for people of all ages, prevention is well worth the time and effort! At Long Family Dental, we encourage everyone to be proactive when it comes to their oral health, so give us a call today to schedule a routine visit for your smile.
In our decades of experience, we’ve found that preventing oral health problems (or treating them early on) is so much easier than treating them later. Especially when you remember that many conditions don’t cause pain or discomfort until they’ve progressed.
A great example is gum disease, which is sometimes called a “silent disease” because it doesn’t cause noticeable pain in the early stages. In addition to increasing the risk for a number of serious conditions like heart disease, it’s also the leading cause of tooth loss. But when it’s diagnosed and treated in the early stages, we can halt its progression and greatly lower the risk of these complications.
In most cases, seeing a dentist just twice a year is enough to help minimize the risk of oral health problems. However, some patients, such as those with gum disease or diabetes, can benefit from more frequent cleanings.
If it’s your first checkup with us, your visit will be more in-depth and usually takes around 90 minutes. Moving forward, your routine visits will take about an hour, during which you’ll spend time with one of our gentle, experienced hygienists first, followed by an exam with Dr. Robert or Chris Long.
First, we’ll ask if you have any concerns and gather information about your dental health before doing your cleaning. And, since your mouth is linked to your general health, we’ll also update and review your medical history.
Next, to allow the doctors to see everything they can’t see with their eyes alone, we’ll take routine X-rays, usually once per year. We’ll also perform a gum exam once a year (more often for patients with gum disease) and do a simple, fast oral cancer screening at every visit. Then you’re ready for your dental cleaning.
Your hygienist will ask about any special requests beforehand to make sure you’re comfortable. Then they’ll use special tools to remove plaque and tartar before polishing and flossing. You’ll also get personalized oral hygiene tips to help you maintain everything between visits. Then the doctor will come in to review everything and do a thorough exam.
Since two pairs of eyes are better than one, they’ll inspect all of your soft tissues again to screen for oral cancer. Then they’ll look closely at your X-rays, teeth, and existing dental work to see if there are any treatment needs. If treatment is necessary, they’ll give you multiple treatment options whenever possible and discuss the pros and cons of each one to help you make the best decision. Finally, they’ll answer any questions you may have.