No matter your age, history, or healthcare needs, everyone needs regular dental cleanings to maintain proper oral health and hygiene.
Dental cleanings make your smile brighter and your breath fresher. They’re also vital to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Learn what to expect at a dental cleaning here at our Rogue Valley dentist office so that you can get the best care possible.
How do I prepare for a dental cleaning?
Keep up with your daily dental hygiene
It’s common for patients to slack on their daily dental hygiene practices when they know they have a professional cleaning coming up. However, it’s important that you continue to brush and floss your teeth in the days leading up to your appointment.
Ensuring that your teeth are clean and free of any leftover food will make your dentist’s job quicker and easier. It will also allow them to get a better understanding of your general oral health and lifestyle.
Bring your insurance and payment
Insurance can be a confusing aspect of any healthcare service, so it’s a good idea to bring your insurance card and any other relevant information with you to your appointment. Also make sure you find out what procedures and treatment plans are covered by your insurance provider so there aren’t any surprises during your exam.
Bring your dental appliance, if you have one
If you use any dental appliances, such as retainers or dentures, bring them to your appointment. This allows Dr. Catt to evaluate their effectiveness and cleanliness. These types of appliances can be difficult to clean thoroughly at home, so we may even be able to give them a more intensive cleaning during your appointment.
Think of questions to ask your dentist beforehand
In addition to having your teeth professionally cleaned, regular dental exams give you the opportunity to ask questions and get expert guidance about any concerns.
Our team wants to answer all our questions. Think of any questions prior to your appointment and write them down on your phone or a piece of paper to ensure that you get the answers you need.
How often do I need to get my teeth cleaned?
Generally speaking, we recommend that you get a professional dental cleaning twice a year (once every six months). Daily dental care at home, such as brushing, flossing, and using a gentle mouthwash are great ways to keep your oral health in check. However, these practices aren’t enough on their own.
Over time, plaque and tartar will wear away at your enamel and lead to serious oral health conditions such as gum disease or tooth decay. That’s why biannual visits to our office for cleanings and exams are so important.
What evaluations are available at a dental cleaning?
At our office, we provide a number of high-tech screenings to detect any signs of damage, decay, or other serious oral health conditions.
These screening options include but are not limited to:
- Intraoral photography — Intraoral photography allows us to capture digital images of your gums and teeth. We can detect signs of any number of dental conditions, including gum disease and cavities.
- X-rays — With x-rays, we can look deep within the internal structure of your teeth and gums. In most cases, x-rays are recommended at least once a year. Factors such as age and dental history may mean they’re necessary more often.
- Oral cancer screenings — Oral cancers can occur anywhere in the mouth, including the tongue, gums, and throat. These cancers can be serious and life threatening in some cases so it’s important to get regular screenings to catch any signs early.
What can I do to improve dental anxiety?
No matter your reason, we understand that dental anxiety is a very real problem. Here are a few ways you can limit your anxiety while you get the care you need and deserve:
- Let us know — Your health and comfort are our first priority. If you’re experiencing any nervousness, tell us before or during your exam. That way, we can make adjustments that will improve your experience and alleviate any unpleasant symptoms.
- Bring a friend — For some, going into an unfamiliar environment can increase symptoms of anxiety. Bringing a friend with you for support can help lessen this worry, especially if it’s your first dental appointment with us in a while.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for breaks or clarification — During your treatment, we’ll ask you to raise your hand and let us know if you need to take a break. Also feel free to ask for clarification about any procedures. We’ll help you know exactly what to expect.
- Seek help for any underlying anxiety conditions — If your dental anxiety is severe or chronic, it may be the result of an underlying anxiety disorder. While there are a number of tools we can use to temporarily improve symptoms of dental anxiety, it’s always recommended to seek help from a mental health professional.
Developing a plan that works for you
Our philosophy is about creating an accessible and personalized environment where you feel comfortable. At your dental appointment, our hygienists will provide gentle and expert cleaning and offer any necessary screenings. We’re also dedicated to curating an at-home preventive care plan that suits your specific needs.