What to Expect During a Dental Exam and Cleaning in Carlsbad
Has it been a while since your last dental exam? Carlsbad patients of Dr. DeAngelis can always know what to expect when they arrive for their next checkup and dental cleaning. Carlsbad families and patients of all ages have been entrusting us with their oral health for years!
How Long Does a Dental Exam Take?
Most new patient appointments take a little more time than routine or “regular” checkups. Why? Because we’re gathering additional information to serve as a baseline for your oral health. We use all of this data to compare future dental checkups against, making it easier to spot changes in your oral health over time.
Typically, the exam portion of your dental checkup only takes around 10 minutes, but the entire new patient appointment may range anywhere from 60-90 minutes for adult patients. Children’s checkups usually require less time. The cleaning portion and various oral assessments will take up most of the visit.
In addition to evaluating your existing dental work or examining for cavities, Dr. DeAngelis or one of our hygienists will perform the following:
Periodontal Screening—Gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss, bad breath, and receding gum tissues. We will use a special measuring tool to chart your gum and bone attachment levels around your teeth.
Oral Cancer Screening—Precancerous tissues can be hard to identify on your own. We will carefully screen for abnormal areas to make you aware of any spots that need to be biopsied or monitored. Even if you do not smoke or drink alcohol, you may still be at risk for oral cancer.
TMJ Assessment—We will evaluate the joint and movement patterns of your jaw and surrounding tissues. Be sure to let us know about any TMJ pain or frequent headaches.
Occlusal Evaluation—The way your teeth bite together can reflect things like stress-induced bruxism, risk of sleep apnea, or risk for gum disease and tooth decay.
Will I Need Dental X-rays?
Our Carlsbad dentist uses digital X-rays to screen for decay, gum disease, cysts, impacted teeth, and other irregularities that cannot be seen during your visual exam. Depending on your age and dental history, different types of X-rays may be used. Some provide us with a complete view of your entire jaw and surrounding anatomy, while others are for checking tight spaces between back teeth for cavities.
The type and frequency of dental X-rays you need will depend on your oral health history, age, and any specific concerns you might have.
What Happens During a Dental Cleaning (Carlsbad)?
If your teeth and gums are healthy, we will provide a prophylactic (preventive) dental cleaning. Special instruments will gently remove plaque and calcified tartar buildup across your tooth surfaces, including just along the edges of the gums. Then we will polish off any surface stains across your tooth enamel. If there are some areas with especially heavier buildup, we will make you aware of those locations and discuss alternatives for improved cleaning of those spaces at home.
People who have active gum disease will require a more therapeutic type of dental cleaning for periodontitis. If that is the case, Dr. DeAngelis and our hygienist will review this process with you and schedule you for a deep cleaning at a separate appointment.
How Often Should You Schedule Dental a Checkup?
Our patients with healthy teeth and gums respond best to a preventative care appointment every six months. These “recall” dental cleanings and exams are a bit shorter than the initial new patient appointment, as we will have all of your information on file to reference. Plus, they’re usually completely covered by your dental insurance.
As your family dental provider, our goal is to help you keep your teeth and gums healthy for life. Through a preventative care approach and regular cleanings, you can reduce your risk of cavities, gum disease, dental emergencies, and added care costs in the future.
Call Our Dentist | Carlsbad, CA
Are you due for a checkup or dental exam? Carlsbad families can call DeAngelis Family Dentistry today to reserve their next appointment. New patients are always welcome here!