It’s no secret that having good oral health plays a key role in having good overall health. Part of ensuring that you have good oral health is developing a hygiene routine that is appropriate for your oral health needs. In addition to your daily routine, you should regularly see a dentist for cleanings and checkups.

For some, regular cleanings are part of a yearly routine, but for others scheduling a dental appointment sometimes slips off the radar. While the American Dental Association (ADA) doesn’t directly specify the required number of visits, the recommendation is once or twice a year.

Regular visits likely include prophylaxis (a dental cleaning) to remove any plaque or tartar buildup and to have a checkup with your dentist. There are issues that might occur in your mouth that aren’t immediately visible to the naked eye. Having a professional check your teeth and mouth can help prevent issues before they arise.

We also recommend getting X-Rays done once a year to monitor your oral health from year to year. X-rays are also helpful in detecting the earliest beginnings of oral problems like cavities and gum disease that might not even be visible upon visual examination to your dentist.

What To Expect At My Dental Check-up

While many patients have lots of experience visiting a dentist, there are an equal number of patients who might be going for the first time in years. Dental fear and dental anxiety are real emotions that play a role in someone’s decision not to visit a dentist for regular cleanings. We recognize these as valid emotions and seek to provide reassurance and information about what to expect that help address concerns.

The first thing that happens, at least once a year, in a dental visit will be X-Rays. We mentioned above that X-rays provide a great way to check the health of your teeth and catch anything of note as early as possible—dental infection and decay between the teeth, for example.

After x-rays are taken your hygienist will likely start the cleaning. For patients who experience dental fear or anxiety, or who just need a little additional help to relax for the visit some dentists (like we do at Inland Family Dentistry) will offer patients nitrous oxide.

This mild sedation helps those patients who have anxiety or fear relax just enough to be comfortable during the appointment. It’s a safe method that is flushed from your system after the appointment by administering oxygen.

A primary goal at Inland Family Dentistry is to ensure the comfort of each patient throughout their entire visit so never hesitate to mention your feelings so that we can address your concerns or discomfort.

At some point during your visit, the dentist will come in to check your teeth. They’ll reference your X-rays, and talk to the hygienist and to you about your oral health. If there are any issues that are found with your teeth like cavities, gum disease, or others the dentist will discuss treatment options with you. If at any time during the visit you have questions to ask, those are always welcome.

After giving your teeth a professional cleaning, we’ll finish with a polish to make those pearly whites shine, and then you’ll be taken to our front desk and scheduled for upcoming visits. The importance of oral health and regular visits for preventative care shouldn’t be overlooked. We encourage you to find a dental home where you feel heard and are comfortable returning on a regular basis.