A check up and clean is the cornerstone of our partnership with you. It maintains lifelong dental health and prevents dental problems before they become painful or expensive.
What happens at a check up and clean appointment?
A dental check up and clean is more than just looking after your teeth! Our dentists begin your check up with an examination of the hard and soft tissues of your mouth. These are your teeth, jaw, gums, tongue, lymph nodes, lips and the inside of your cheeks.
Our dentists will also discuss your oral hygiene and dietary habits, so we can help make suggestions that reinforce or lead to positive changes in your overall dental health.
Following this, we will scale and clean your teeth professionally using our ultrasonic scaler – removing plaque and tartar (calculus) build up. Our dentist will then perform dental prophylaxis (aka ‘prophy’) where we: clean, polish, and remove any external stains. This controls bacteria and maintains healthy gums and teeth.
We finish your check up and clean with a fluoride treatment to:
strengthen your tooth enamel, and
prevent and make your teeth more resistant to tooth decay.
How long does a scale and clean appointment last?
A standard appointment for adults usually takes 30 minutes. However, the dentist may need to extend the time depending on your dental requirements. For our younger patients, their appointment may be shorter as they don’t have as many teeth!
How often do I need to get an X-Ray and why are Dental X-Rays useful?
It is unlikely you’ll need an X-Ray at every check up and clean appointment. This depends on your dental history and individual needs. For example, if your teeth are healthy, we may do X-Rays every 2 years. However, if your teeth are at a higher risk of decay, we might recommend X-Rays more frequently.
For children, X-Rays are usually performed if we suspect cavities or if it has been a long time since their last X-Ray.
X-Rays help us to identify problematic areas that aren’t visible and is particularly useful for detecting cavities in between your teeth and in your back molars.
The benefits of having regular check up and clean appointments
Research shows that a cavity can develop within 6 months, so it is important to maintain your 6 monthly check up and clean appointments. Early detection of decay can prevent dental problems, but if left untreated this could lead to expensive and invasive treatments and more dental pain.
How often should adults and children have them? Is it the same for everyone?
For adults, your dental check up and cleans should take place every 6 months.
These visits can vary depending on a patient’s individual dental situation but in most cases, we recommend that plaque build-up is best removed every 6 months.
For children, we encourage parents to begin dental check ups as early as 1.5 – 2 years of age. Little ones can begin by coming in with their parents for a ‘ride in the chair’. The more familiar a child is with the dental environment, the less likely they are to become anxious about visiting the dentist. Scared of the dentist? Hate pain?
At Central Dental, our treatments are designed to be pain-free. During your clean, you might experience some sensitivity with the ultrasonic scaler or to cold water. To relieve this, we have the option to apply a desensitising paste beforehand to reduce the sensitivity.
We also offer the option of Happy Gas (aka Nitrous Oxide) for nervous patients, so be sure to mention this to our reception staff or your dentist if you think this is something you might need.
What happens if you don’t have your teeth cleaned by a dentist?
If patients are inconsistent with their 6 monthly check ups, this will lead to a build-up of plaque which becomes solidified calculus. Everyday plaque can be removed by brushing your teeth, however, calculus needs to be professionally removed by a dentist. If left untreated, it can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and other dental problems.