The Importance of Having Bi-Annual Dental Cleanings and Exams

Dec 07, 2022

The Importance of Having Bi-Annual Dental Cleanings and Exams

It’s accepted wisdom that you go for dental exams and cleanings every six months. Once you’re in the habit, it’s easy to forget why. If you’ve let those appointments slide by, you could be headed for more serious dental issues down the road.

Routine maintenance helps to keep things working. You may know this from equipment you work with or when you take your car in for an oil change. Ignoring the warning lights on your dash can lead to costly repairs later on. 

It’s the same for dental care. While brushing and flossing play an important role in the routine maintenance of your teeth and gums, on their own they aren’t enough to stay ahead of plaque and tartar, the by-products of eating that build up regardless of your top-notch oral care routine. 

Sometimes, things just go wrong, like the development of a cavity. Without regular exams, these irregularities can develop unnoticed until a minor issue becomes a major problem. 

At Los Altos Family Smiles, we’re your dental care partners, and we understand the role that oral hygiene plays in your overall health and wellness. We know the importance of having bi-annual dental cleanings and exams, and we’re here to help you maintain your healthy smile. 

What to expect from a dental exam

As with many health issues, the earlier you uncover an oral care problem, the easier it is to treat. This can save you time, money, and discomfort. That’s the guiding principle behind regular dental exams, and for most people, a six-month interval serves their needs, balancing frequency and risk. 

Generally, dental exams combine diagnostic imaging with a visual check of your mouth’s condition. Periodically, your diagnostic imaging consists of a full mouth series of X-rays, usually once every few years, but when you’re receiving regular care, a few bitewing X-rays may be all that’s needed. X-rays reveal issues that may not be observable, such as developing cavities or bone loss in the jaw. 

The visual check starts with an evaluation of the X-ray films to identify problem areas. Our dentist assesses the health of your gums and checks for bite alignment before looking for signs of oral cancer. After an all-clear, a hygienist takes over for your cleaning. 

The dental cleaning process

Despite the fact that your daily brush-and-floss routine targets plaque build-up in your mouth, no oral care routine is 100% effective. Plaque can still collect in hard-to-reach places, and it can harden into tartar in as little as a few days. Once it hardens, it takes dental instruments to remove it. 

That’s the reason for your cleaning. The hygienist seeks out and destroys plaque and tartar build-up using specially designed instruments for scraping, chipping, and picking away these threats to your oral health, between teeth and below the gum line. 

A special abrasive toothpaste comes next, applied with a powered tool, performing a deep clean after the scaling procedure. The hygienist follows this with a flossing to ensure no loose particles of tartar remain. Your cleaning typically ends with an application of fluoride to strengthen your teeth against cavities. 

After your exam and cleaning, you have the confidence of knowing your oral health is under control along with the ultra smooth feeling of completely clean teeth. 

When it’s time to schedule your next bi-annual visit, or if you need to resume regular care, make an appointment with us by phone or online. Book your session now.