Woking dentist, Dr Dani Sharma, explains what happens during a regular check up.
Routine dental appointments typically do not involve treatment, and even if you are slightly nervous when it comes to dentistry in general, you should not be concerned. Check ups are essential to ensure a healthy mouth and to diagnose minor issues before they get worse.
Patients of the AJ Dental Group should not underestimate the importance of these appointments as, without seeing a dentist regularly, problems will accumulate and worsen, potentially leading to tooth loss and/or pain. The chances of more invasive treatment becoming necessary is much more likely if you regularly skip your check-up appointments.
If you haven’t had a dental examination for some time, you may be building up a false picture in your mind of what happens during them. So to help with this, we have put together a simple guide as to what happens at a routine check up appointment.
Choosing your dentist
If you haven’t seen a dentist for a while, or are new to the Woking area, it can be difficult to choose which dentist to see. Some of your decision may be based on location, but you may also wish to factor in the treatments that they can provide. Whilst your immediate oral health might be the prime reason, you may decide later on for example, to have a missing tooth replaced with a dental implant or even have your teeth straightened for a more attractive smile.
We are pleased to offer these and many other services, as well as a friendly team of dentists and support staff here at the AJ Dental Group!
The first thing that happens when you come for an examination is that you will need to provide the receptionist with some details for our records and to sign consent forms. We recommend that you always arrive slightly early for your appointment so that this can be done in plenty of time before you see the dentist. Once this has been done, you can relax in our waiting room until the time that you are called.
Before examining your teeth and gums, the dentist will ask you a number of questions. This will include questions about your health and any medication that you are on. All information is confidential and these are only asked to ensure that you can receive your treatment safely.
Once you are ready, the chair will be reclined to a position that makes it easy for the dentist to access your mouth. They will then make a visual assessment, usually using a mirror and a sickle probe. This latter implement has a long handle with a sharp ‘hook’ on it. It may look a little scary, but is used gently to find tiny cavities in the teeth that may need treating. The mirror allows us to see things magnified and also to see at the back of the teeth, especially the rear ones where tooth decay can be more common.
During this examination, you may hear the dentist use unfamiliar and medical sounding terminology when speaking to the dental nurse. This is not a matter that should be of concern and simply allows us to record the condition of your teeth accurately. The probe may also be used to check the depth of your gum pockets. Receding gums is a potential indicator of gum disease.
Where you haven’t seen a dentist for some time, or where we have not done so for a period of time, you may also have x-rays taken. Although a visual examination can detect a lot of problems, without x-rays the dentist is unable to see if there are any problems below the gum line. Abscesses and root canal infections can only be detected in this way so it is important that we monitor this. Although x-rays do use radiation, they are perfectly safe for occasional use. The reason that the dentist may leave the immediate area is to protect them from regular and constant exposure. If you are pregnant, please let us know so that we can determine the risk level for you and your unborn child.
If the dentist finds a small cavity that needs filling, you will be asked to make an appointment to receive the treatment. Please do not miss this appointment. Cavities will never shrink and almost always get larger if ignored and what might have been a tiny filling could turn into something more significant if you leave it for too long. Your dentist may make recommendations about how you look after your teeth too and it is also likely that they will suggest that you see the hygienist. This is a great way to keep your gums in good health by having a scale and polish on a regular six monthly basis which the dental hygienist will carry out.
Routine check up appointments might seem like a minor thing, but without them, your teeth and gums will almost certainly suffer and eventually require treatment. So to make sure that you keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible, please make sure that you have one booked!
If you would like to arrange to have a check up at one of our two Woking dental practices, please call us today on 01483 766355 or 01932 352333.