Dental Checkups and Cleanings
Generally speaking, if your teeth are clean then your mouth is healthy and your smile is attractive. To keep it that way, Dr. Puskas encourages all patients to schedule dental checkups and cleanings at least twice each year. At these appointments, your Buckhead dentist and her team will thoroughly clean your teeth, examine your entire oral cavity and provide you with advice on how your can better care for your smile in between checkups.
The Rationale Behind Dental Checkups
You may sometimes wonder why you need to see the dentist in Buckhead every six months if your smile looks good and none of your teeth are bothering you. Because what you can’t see and can’t yet feel can lead to trouble.
Even if you religiously brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and floss daily, you may not be cleaning every tooth completely. Our dental hygienists use a rotary brush and special handheld instruments to remove plaque and tartar (mineralized plaque) from the chewing, lingual and facial surfaces of each tooth. Removing plaque and tartar is the first step toward helping you avoid decay and gum disease.
In addition, your dental checkup also gives your dentist the chance to examine your teeth for early signs of cavities. We’ll gently probe each tooth, looking for soft spots that may indicate the enamel has demineralized and a cavity is starting. Found early, a small cavity can be treated with a tooth-colored filling that neither you nor anyone else will be able to distinguish from your natural teeth. Similarly, the first stage of gum disease, gingivitis, is sometimes treatable with a more stringent at-home oral hygiene routine if caught soon enough. Otherwise, an in-office treatment called scaling and root planing may be necessary.
Oral Cancer Screenings at Dental Checkups
Who better to check for the early warning signs of oral cancer than the health care professional that routinely looks in your mouth? Like other cancer screenings, this one is designed to find changes in soft tissue that may indicate pre-cancerous or cancerous cells are present.
In addition to visually examining your mouth, lips and throat for symptoms like a sore that hasn’t healed, a scaly patch or a lump, we also use an advanced technology called VELscope. Using a handheld wand that emits fluorescent light, your Buckhead dentist is more easily able to spot cancerous and pre-cancerous lesions long before they are visible to the naked eye.
Dr. Puskas will also check your bite, making sure your teeth fit together correctly. If there are signs of abnormal wear, then a nightguard can protect your teeth from the effects of grinding and clenching.