Believe it or not, dental cleanings are about much more than cleaning your teeth. Your semi-annual cleanings serve as the perfect opportunity for a family dentist to examine the condition of your teeth, your gums, and your bite pattern, as well as any other oral health concerns you may have.
Examining Your Teeth
When you consider that dental exams need to pay particular attention to the enamel of your teeth, the cleaning process can actually seem like just the first step in the process, literally clearing the way for a more involved inspection. Your dentist is looking for areas of decay, discoloration, or sensitivity, as these could be signs of underlying problems.
Examining Your Gums
Your teeth are just the most visible part of the dental picture. Healthy roots are vital to strong, functional teeth, and the gums act as protective blankets for those roots. Unhealthy gums warrant extra attention, to determine if that protective layer is weakening and potentially exposing the roots to danger, or if the weakening of that protective layer is a result of a deeper problem within the root.
Examining Your Bite
Dental exams also inspect how your upper and lower teeth fit together, know as your bite pattern. A healthy bite pattern should distribute the pressure evenly across the contact points of the teeth, so that no area is wearing away faster than another, and so that we can efficiently chew our food. If the bite pattern is shifting, advanced dental technologies like dental digital x-rays can help your dentist determine the cause (such as unerupted wisdom teeth, or significantly weakening roots).
Dental exams and cleanings can help your dentist identify and address areas of concern before they become full-blown problems. Whether or not you enjoy your cleanings, be sure to keep your appointments — your future mouth will thank you.