Your regularly scheduled check-up is often referred to as a "cleaning", but there is much more to it than that! The technical term is oral prophylaxis, which means prevention of oral disease.
One way to prevent oral disease is to remove harmful plaque and tartar (calculus) both above and below the gum line. You may also be given special instructions on brushing or flossing to keep clean the areas where we found significant buildup. That is the familiar "cleaning" part of your checkup.
It's easy to tell which tooth has been "cleaned" in this photo!
Another way to prevent oral disease is by early detection and treatment. During your checkup you will be screened for many potential threats to your oral health, including:
In addition, some systemic diseases, such as diabetes, often present themselves first inside the mouth, so early detection extends beyond just oral disease.
Your Dental Hygienist is your first-line of defense against oral disease. Your hygienist is a highly trained professional who can evaluate your teeth and gums, both visually and with the assistance of x-rays and other modern technology, to discover threats to your oral or general health. Your dentist will review the findings of your hygienist and advise you on any threats to your oral or general health.