At Desert Palm Dentistry, we encourage our patients to practice good oral hygiene and preventive dental care to avoid the need for expensive dental procedures in the future.
Part of this maintenance includes attending regular dental checkups at our Glendale, AZ office with Dr. Shahin Dabestani, DMD.
These checkups give the doctor a chance to discover and treat any dental issues in their earliest stages, before they grow in complexity and affect your overall health. These visits also allow us to help you keep your teeth looking their best with a professional cleaning.
While you may practice excellent oral hygiene at home, brushing and flossing every single day, you will still develop a buildup of plaque and tartar along your gum line and between your teeth.
It takes a dental professional like Dr. Dabestani performing a deep cleaning to remove this buildup and keep your teeth clean and healthy.
To learn more about your regular dental checkup, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Dabestani, call our Glendale, AZ dental office today.
History of the Dental Checkup
Over 50 years ago, military doctors performing entrance physicals noticed that a majority Americans were not taking good care of their teeth. Back then, no guidelines existed to determine how often people should see their dentist.
The dentists themselves spent so much time focused on fixing problems with their patients’ teeth, that they hardly had time to think about teaching them how to prevent the dental issues they were suffering from.
With very little evidence available to form a suggested guideline, health professionals arbitrarily agreed on the twice yearly dental checkup as a recommendation. They presented this recommendation to the public, based on the idea that they could prevent gum disease and cavities if they found them early, before they caused the patient pain. The public agreed, and the six-month dental checkup become the standard.
How Often Should You Have a Checkup?
Regular dental checkups allow Dr. Dabestani to stay abreast of your dental health and hygiene. Most patients still attend a dental checkup every six months to ensure optimal oral hygiene. Some patients, however, may need to attend checkups more often.
Patients with a high risk for developing dental diseases may need to attend a checkup every three to four months. These patients may include pregnant women, smokers, patients with diabetes, those who already have gum disease, and people with weak immune systems who may not have the ability to fight off bacterial infections.
Based on each patient’s level of dental health, Dr. Dabestani will recommend an optimal number of visits, to help them keep their teeth and gums healthy.
What to Expect During Your Checkup
A typical dental checkup will consist of several parts. Patients will start many dental checkups by having x-rays taken. A thorough examination of the teeth and gums typically comes next, followed by a professional dental cleaning. Below, we outline what you can expect during your regular checkup:
Dr. Dabestani does not typically require patients to have x-rays at every appointment, unless a potential problem arises. He typically takes x-rays at the patient’s initial exam, and then once a year after that.
The doctor uses a new CBCT machine, which can take up to 200 pictures of your head in less than one minute. The doctor uses these pictures to form a 3D image of your entire head, giving him the ability to diagnose everything from the smallest cavity to TMJ disorder or sleep apnea. He can use the x-rays to discover hidden tooth decay, signs of gum disease, and misalignment, among other things.
The digital x-rays the doctor uses, expose patients to much less radiation that traditional x-rays, while providing a much clearer image. With these highly detailed pictures of your entire head, the doctor can see the roots of your teeth and the bone around them. They also help him monitor the development of our younger patients’ teeth as they develop.
An experienced hygienist will perform an initial examination of your teeth and gums, documenting any changes since your last visit, and noting any possible problem areas she sees. The doctor will then perform his examination, looking for signs of cavities, screening for oral cancer, and measuring any pockets between your teeth and gums.
During his examination, the dentist may use several tools, such as a probe for measuring the gum pockets, an exploring tool, and a dental mirror. If you feel anxious about the use of any of these tools or procedures, or if you experience a fear of the dentist in general, let Dr. Dabestani or your hygienist know, and we will go over our available sedation options with you.
On some occasions, such as your first visit, Dr. Dabestani may perform a more comprehensive exam that includes a discussion of your medical and dental history and a thorough check of your head and neck for any swelling or tenderness. He will examine your tongue, lips, and cheeks for signs of oral health problems and check for proper occlusion, making sure your upper and lower teeth come together properly.
Following the examination, Dr. Dabestani will explain any dental issues he discovers, recommending a course of treatment best suited to the problem. Depending on his findings, the doctor may recommend that you return to our office for restorative procedures or visit a specialist. He may also recommend returning sooner for your next checkup, to evaluate any ongoing issues. Typically, the doctor will place any necessary fillings and perform procedures like root canal therapy in the same visit.
Your hygienist will offer education on the proper care of your teeth and gums, including any new dental technology that may have become available for patient use. She can answer any questions you may have about the products you use at home and recommend options that may work better for you and your family.
Professional Dental Cleaning
Your hygienist will perform a professional cleaning prior to the doctor’s exam. Your dental cleaning, or prophylaxis, will include the removal of plaque, tartar, and stains from your teeth. The hygienist will begin by using a hooked instrument, called a scaler to gently remove plaque and tartar deposits from the surface of your teeth and your gum line.
If she discovers pockets between your teeth and gums, an indication of gum disease, she may have to perform a deeper cleaning, called scaling and root planing, to remove plaque and tartar from the roots of the teeth.
Scaling and root planing work together as a non-surgical treatment for gum disease. The treatment allows for the healthy regeneration of your gum tissue through careful cleaning and smoothing of the tooth roots. During the scaling procedure, the hygienist will use the scaler to scrape tartar from the tooth roots above and below the gum line. Root planing involves smoothing out the rough spots on your tooth roots where germs tend to gather, helping to eliminate harmful bacteria.
When the hygienist finishes cleaning your teeth, she will polish them with an abrasive paste that will remove minor stains and provide a smooth surface on your teeth, to make it difficult for bacteria to gather. We typically recommend a fluoride treatment after your cleaning as well, to help strengthen the enamel of your teeth and guard them against attacks from decay.
Contact Us Today
By attending regular checkups and cleanings, you allow the doctor to find and treat dental problems in their earliest stages, before they become complex and require expensive treatments. If you would like to schedule your dental checkup, contact our Glendale, AZ dental office today.