If you’ve scheduled an appointment for a dental checkup at Fox Point Dental in Lakewood, CO, you’re taking an important first step in improving your oral health—and, in turn, your overall health. Here’s how to prepare for your appointment and what to expect when you arrive at our dental office.
How do I prepare for my Lakewood, CO dentist appointment?
The best way to prepare for your dental appointment is to:
- Brush and floss your teeth before you arrive
- Make notes of any concerns you wish to discuss
- Take note of changes to your medical history or medications you’re taking
This allows us to provide you with the best possible and accurate care.
What’s included in a dental checkup?
At our Lakewood dental clinic, your dental checkup is the most important step in preventative care.
Your general dentist checkup includes:
A Dental Exam
During your exam, we look at your teeth and gums for potential problems that are in need of immediate attention, such as tooth decay and gum disease. By catching issues early, it’ll allow you to avoid painful cavities, gum infections, and more. We’ll also look for abnormalities such as lumps in your face, neck, and jawline. A medical history review is also important so we can determine if new medical conditions or medications might affect your treatment plan or oral health.
X-rays are an important tool for dentistry as they help us detect issues we can’t see with the naked eye during the exam. We take an x-ray of the area below the gum line and teeth so that we can diagnose problems. For example, we can see if your wisdom teeth are impacted, which can damage your jawbone, or if you have any cysts, tumors, tooth decay, or abscesses.
Lastly, our hygienist performs a thorough professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar buildup that regular flossing and brushing can’t clean.
Once we complete your exam, x-rays, and cleaning, we will explain any issues you have and recommend a treatment plan. Our hygienist will also offer tips to improve your at-home oral care regime.
What does a dental cleaning include?
- Your dental cleaning includes a process called scaling. Using a mirror to see the difficult-to-reach surfaces of your teeth, our hygienist uses a special tool called a scaler to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth and gum line.
- Our hygienist also polishes your teeth to help remove stains.
- Lastly, our hygienist applies fluoride to your teeth.
In the case where we spot trouble areas with more build-up of plaque and tartar, we’ll offer tips on the proper brushing and flossing technique, as well as discuss the best toothpaste and oral care tools for your particular needs.
What should I do between dental checkups?
Once you leave our office, it’s important to take our advice and follow the instructions we provide. This can be as simple as ‘keep up the good work’, or more complicated with advice on using special tools to help reduce plaque buildup.
We also might provide recommendations on the best toothpaste to use. For example, if you suffer from tooth sensitivity, we’ll recommend a sensitive formula. Ideally, you should be brushing with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing daily. This is the best way to reduce plaque buildup which leads to tooth decay and possibly gum disease. Good oral health can also include using mouthwash to help reduce plaque bacteria and provide fresh breath.
Why is a dental checkup important?
Dental checkups are not only important for your oral health, but also for your overall health. Here’s why dental checkups help keep you healthy:
As mentioned above, during your dental exam we look for issues with your teeth and gums. However, what you might not realize is that dentists also look for serious diseases, including oral cancer. We are trained to look for oral issues. With consistent six-month checkups, you greatly reduce the odds of a disease such as oral cancer getting too advanced. Because you might not pay close attention to the inside of your mouth, we have a better chance of catching abnormalities if we see you frequently.
With regular exams and cleanings, your dental care remains more affordable as you stop any decay from progressing. As a result, you reduce the risk for dental pain and costly restorations like root canals or crowns.
Along with our oral cancer check, we also do a thorough exam of your neck, jaw, and lymph nodes for abnormalities. Things such as swollen lymph nodes could indicate possible cancer and other serious diseases. When you visit our office every six months, you reduce the risk of serious conditions going undetected for too long. If we see any potential issues, we will recommend you see the proper medical professional to diagnose serious diseases.
This is an obvious reason you should be seeing our team twice a year. We make sure your brushing and flossing practices are doing their job. We look for issues such as plaque buildup, tartar, cavities, and more. The problem with plaque is that it can be tricky to remove from areas along the gum line, as well as in between teeth. In these areas, it is more likely to harden and turn into tartar, which can’t be removed by a toothbrush or floss. This is where our cleanings come in—to get the stuff you can’t remove.
Plaque and tartar buildup can also lead to gum disease. Tartar can cause infections that can lead to gum recession. In the early stages, we can treat gingivitis to avoid recession and infection before it progresses to more serious conditions such as periodontitis. Periodontitis causes bleeding, swelling, and pain in the gums and can even lead to a breakdown of the bone where your roots are connected. The more time gum disease has to progress, the more risk there is for tooth loss. Gum disease is also a very costly condition that often requires surgery and medication.
As you can see, your dental checkups not only keep your teeth and gums healthy but also keep an eye on important elements of your overall health.
We look for signs of systemic health problems.
Many times, your mouth can show us if there are potential health problems in the rest of your body. Gum disease is linked to diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Sleep apnea and teeth grinding are directly related. Yellow teeth can show us your breathing patterns aren't correct. Loose teeth can point to osteoporosis. Dry mouth can indicate autoimmune disorders. The mouth can be a window to the rest of the body! If we see something that is concerning, we will be sure to point it out for you!
Are you ready to smile more, breathe freely, and live better?
Are you ready to smile more, breathe freely, and live better?
Dental cleanings (prophylaxis)
Normally recommended every six months, This professional service reinforces the home-care oral health regimen of brushing and flossing and gives our team an opportunity to locate areas in the mouth that may need special attention.
Oral cancer screening
We look for signs of cancer or precancerous conditions in your mouth. The goal of oral cancer screening is to identify mouth cancer early, when there is a greater chance for a cure.
Digital cavity detecting radiology
Low radiation option to look for areas of decay or pre-decay in between your teeth.
Tooth colored, mercury-free material is used to repair areas where tooth decay or wear have caused cavities.
Fluoride strengthening treatments
Naturally occuring fluoride can be used to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent weakened areas from turning to cavities. Sometimes it can even reverse cavities!
Periodontal disease is bad for your entire health! Treating it every three to four months can help with chronic health issues.
Protective tooth colored layer over deep grooves can help to prevent cavities when teeth first erupt in the mouth by sealing out plaque and bacteria.
Gentle removal of a tooth that cannot be samed, a tooth extraction can get you out of pain or prevent infection.
A tongue-tie can impact feeding, speaking, sleeping, chronic pain, and a whole host of other issues!