Checkup & Clean

Regular Dental Check-Up and Clean

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Even the best dental technology cannot fully replace a natural tooth. Aim to have your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year.

Routine dental check-up, clean and x-ray examinations usually take 30 to 60 minutes and they are an essential step towards dental health. six-monthly check-ups and dental x-ray examinations are recommended even if you have no toothache. According to Brisbane dentists Pure Dentistry people who attend regular dental check-ups are less likely to lose teeth due to irreversible inflammation, tooth infection or dental abscess.

Regular dental check-up and x-ray examination of the teeth help your dentist to provide optimum oral health for your teeth.

Brisbane Tooth Check up

Dental Examination and Prophylactic Treatments

Dental prophylaxis refers to procedures that promote oral health. Types of dental prophylaxis include:

Neglecting dental health can be expensive.

Ask for a Comprehensive Oral Examination

A comprehensive oral exam provides a baseline for your oral health. With a comprehensive oral examination (ADA Item number 011) the dentist meticulously examines the mouth for any problems that already exist or is on the verge of cropping up. This exam provides a complete understanding of your dental health status. This examination is usually required when:

  • You have changed your dentist
  • Have not attended as frequently as required
  • Overall status of dental health is required

The main components of a comprehensive oral examination are diagnosing how teeth occlude, the health status of the supportive anatomy, and the efficiency of the patient’s ability to function.

After the initial screening, a series of examinations will be conducted by your dentist that may include the following:

  • depending on the patient, the dentist may recommend different types of X-rays
  • An X-ray may be required to reveal abnormalities that are invisible to the eye
  • An OPG x-ray may be required for wisdom teeth and bone level assessment
  • A bitewing X-ray may be required for dental decay assessment between the teeth
  • Examination of the surface areas of the mouth
  • Assessment of the lymph nodes
  • Assess and record the status of each tooth also called charting
  • Assess patient bite
  • Checking whether or not cavities or gum disease are present
  • Intraoral photos may be taken to substantiate findings
  • Oral cancer screening
  • In high-risk caries patients saliva testing may be performed

Findings are recorded on a restorative chart for each tooth and a treatment plan is developed. For the current dental issues, treatments are proposed on the treatment plan to address the issues before they have a chance to turn into something serious.

Dental Exam and Teeth Cleaning

The best way to stay healthy is to prevent problems before they have a chance to get started. Preventive dental check-up and cleaning can keep your oral health in tip-top shape. Teeth  cleaning by a dental professional is the only way to remove tartar from teeth. Tartar, if not removed, traps bacteria along the gum line and leads to infection in the gums. Gum disease requires treatment. If ignored, the infection can damage the bones that support teeth and if bones are damaged, teeth can become loose.

Regular Teeth cleaning helps you keep your natural teeth as long as possible. A healthy mouth is not possible without clean teeth.

Is Professional Cleaning Necessary?

Daily dental care at home including brushing and flossing cannot remove tartar from your teeth. A professional dental cleaning can remove plaque and tartar even below the gum line where normal brush and floss may not reach. In general, six-monthly professional cleaning is recommended unless you are wearing dental appliances including braces and Invisalign. If you are in the middle of orthodontic dental treatment, it is best to consult your dentist about the frequency of cleaning.

If plaque is not removed from the teeth, it can harden into tartar or calculus. Brushing and flossing regularly cannot completely prevent some buildup of plaque and tartar around the gums and in between teeth. With a professional dental clean, plaque, tartar, and stains are removed from your teeth. Many stains can be removed but not all stains can be removed using professional cleaning or teeth whitening. Consult with your dentist if you have concerns about dental stains.

Tooth Chart of a patient

Is Dental Check-Up Necessary?

Neglecting dental health can be expensive. Check up and clean can prevent problems. Ignoring oral health maintenance opens doors to issues that can creep up on you slowly and sometimes in an unnoticeable way. According to brisbane emergency dentist pure dentistry neglected cavities can sometimes quickly turn into a full-blown painful dental abscess in a day or two. Regular checkups  can prevent these from happening. Keep your smile healthy and beautiful and keep the money in the bank by investing in your oral health.

Is Dental X-ray Necessary?

Not all dental abnormalities can be seen clinically. Caries may start between the teeth. These carious lesions are well detected on X-rays. If not identified early they can progress into the nerve and cause severe pain. Small caries can be detected early on X-rays and can be restored early to prevent need for root canal treatment and other expensive treatments. Some early caries into the enamel of the tooth may not require active treatment if picked up early and preventive measures adapted.

X-rays can also be used to identify any abnormality in the root of the tooth, supernumerary teeth, cysts and other pathologies that are not seen clinically. They are also useful to assess bone level, position of wisdom teeth and their proximity to the inferior alveolar nerve, sinus and other structures.

For comprehensive treatment planning X-rays are a must.

Three most commonly used x-rays in a dental clinic are:

PA Dental X-ray

Periapical is an intraoral radiograph. This x-ray is taken with the film inside the mouth, but the x-ray machine would be positioned outside the mouth. Periapical X-rays are also called PA. PA is used to view:

  • Tooth
  • Tooth Root
  • Apex
  • Surrounding bone and tissue
Xray film size for kids adults

Bitewing Dental X-Ray

Bitewing is also an intraoral radiograph. It is taken to examine the crowns of both upper and lower teeth. A bitewing x-ray film is used to show the spaces between the teeth. This film is used to find cavities on the interproximal surfaces of the teeth. The main intent of the bitewing image is to detect caries between the teeth. The dental bitewing is also a useful tool to detect periodontal conditions and bone levels between teeth. It can be used to detect abnormalities in the bone density due to gum disease.

Bitewings can also be used for the detection of calcium buildup. Essentially, the purpose of bitewing is to view proximal surfaces of the teeth and does not provide an image with much of the surrounding tissue.

Bitewings can show:

  • Interproximal caries at early stages
  • Revealing small cavities
  • Secondary caries under the fillings
  • The outline of the fillings
  • Previous treatments under the fillings
  • Bone loss in the early stages of periodontal disease

A bite-wing film has a tap attached to the film. That tap is known as the wing of the film and the patient bites on that wing to hold the film inside the mouth. There are also special intra oral ring kits that may be used to take Bitewing X-rays.

Film of a bitewing radiograph

OPG Dental X-ray

Orthopantomograph (OPG) may be used as a preliminary survey of a patient’s teeth. OPG provides a panoramic view of the jaws. It allows visualization of all dental arch and adjacent regions with only one x-ray exposure.

OPG is the most-often used extraoral radiograph, however, it has limitations for conservative dentistry because the quality of the image is not adequate to detect early carious lesions. OPG is used for initial oral examination and does not eliminate the need for intraoral radiographs.  Sometimes a dentist may need a combination of OPG and follow-up intraoral radiographs.

OPG is not a substitute for intraoral radiographs, it is more so a supplement. Some dentists find OPG to be more child-friendly because there is no need to place a film in the mouth of an anxious child.

OPG X-ray view

Oral Cancer Screening

A little known but critical part of a comprehensive check-up is oral cancer screening. This means that a comprehensive checkup can save your life! Finding oral cancer early can be a lifesaver. Oral cancer is one of the easiest cancers to treat provided that it is discovered before it has an opportunity to turn into something dangerous.

Wisdom Teeth Assessment

For many people, wisdom teeth (the third molars) can grow in and become impacted. Using an OPG x-ray your dentist can assess your wisdom teeth and keep an eye on the development of wisdom teeth. If wisdom teeth are likely to be impacted, they can address it before it becomes diseased. Treatment of impacted wisdom teeth can mitigate the discomfort they can cause when they are inflamed or infected.

Brisbane Tooth Examination using OPG

Gum Infection Cleaning (Deep Clean )

The main purpose of a Periodontal treatment or deep clean is to prevent, arrest, control, or eliminate gum disease.

Deep clean or periodontal treatment is usually required when the hygienist finds a deep pocket between the gums and the teeth during the tooth-cleaning process. These deep pockets can be a sign of gum disease. For these cases, the hygienist may need to do a deep clean to remove infection and plaque from under the gum line and on the teeth roots. Deep clean of the gum can arrest the progression of the disease and allows the gum to regenerate and heal.

The periodontal tissues have a remarkable healing capacity. With a deep clean an inflamed gum can be restored. Using a gum infection cleaning, pain, exudate, gum bleeding, and inflammation is removed and deep pockets may also reduce. This can arrest the destruction of the soft tissue and damage to the bone and consequently reduce the abnormal tooth mobility.

The severity of the periodontal disease depends on the pocket depth. 2 to 3 mm pocket depth can be normal and a pocket depth beyond 3mm may be a sign of periodontal disease (this requires diagnosis by a dentist). Periodontal disease can be general or local. People who smoke or have diabetes may be more prone to periodontal disease and frequent gum health check is recommended.

With moderate and severe gum disease, there is a chance of bone loss that can be detected by the dentist using dental x-rays. Sometimes a bitewing x-ray is sufficient to detect bone loss but to get an overall view and check the severity of the disease OPG x-ray is required. Treatment of gum disease depends on the severity of the disease. Sometimes a routine scale and clean can cure the gum but in more severe cases, subgingival cleaning and root planing are required. In very severe cases a periodontal surgery is required. Teeth that have lost a lot of supporting bone around them have a poor prognosis and it may be better to extract those teeth to preserve the bone in that area. Periodontal charting and a full assessment are important for people that have pocket depths of more than 3 mm and it has to be reassessed at each appointment.

The Dentist needs to Know your Medical and Dental History

Before an exam, you are required to fill out a medical history form (MHF). This form collects some important information about your medical and dental history. Standard information required include but are not limited to:

  • Your contact details
  • Your medical history e.g. any heart or blood conditions, allergies, medications, etc
  • Your dental history e.g. when the last visit has been, the main concern if any, etc
  • Any allergies e.g. to anaesthetics
  • Other details e.g. previous hospitalisations, etc