Is your exam and clean being done thoroughly?

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Our Dentists, Oral Health Therapists and Dental Hygienists do so much more than just clean your teeth. These clever professionals screen your mouth at every appointment for signs of oral and systemic disease.  

Dentistry has evolved, it’s no longer just about having decay free teeth or a nice smile. It’s about the surrounding structures, the gums, supporting bone and soft tissues being healthy. It’s about acknowledging the growing evidence which links our oral and general health.  It’s about embracing a whole-body approach to care. 

Have you ever wondered why your exam and clean takes so long?   

Oral diseases like tooth decay, gum disease or oral cancer can be almost invisible, especially when in their earliest stages.  We don’t typically experience pain or notice symptoms until the disease process is already very advanced.  A toothache or a loose tooth may be very first time we become aware of a problem in our mouth.  These problems can be tricky for dental professionals to spot as well.  Gum disease can be difficult to detect without measuring the gum ‘pockets’ around each tooth and early decay can be impossible to detect without the assistance of X-rays. 

Our Oral Health Therapists and Dental Hygienists are trained to work in close partnership with your Dentist to spot the early warning signs of oral and systemic diseases or risk factors that may contribute to systemic disease.   

It takes time to thoroughly investigate the teeth and mouth as well as the myriad of possible lifestyle and general health factors which may influence our risk for developing oral or systemic disease. 

So, what should a ‘thorough’ exam and clean look like? Does your Dentist and/or Oral Health Therapist or Dental Hygienist: 

  • Take the time to verbally review your medical history and ensure a written update is completed annually? 
  • Ask about problems you may be experiencing or concerns you may have? 
  • Ask questions about your current home care routine? How often are you brushing or flossing? Or if you are using or avoiding certain products? 
  • Take regular X-rays, with the frequency determined by your individual risk status? 
  • Check your mouth, head and neck for signs of cancer or soft tissue problems? 
  • Probe around the gumline of each tooth with a measuring tool to look for gum disease or signs of infection and inflammation? 
  • Take photos or use a mirror to explain what is happening inside your mouth? A picture is worth a thousand words! 
  • Use either an ultrasonic or hand scaler to clean all around and in between in every tooth? 
  • Clean below the gumline where plaque and hard calculus or ‘tartar’ deposits like to hide? 
  • Use gritty polishing paste or an air polisher to polish every tooth? 
  • Use floss to check the area in between every tooth is clean and smooth? 
  • Ask questions about your diet or lifestyle and discuss ways that these choices may impact your mouth or body? 
  • Demonstrate specific instructions and provide tailored recommendations for caring for your teeth and mouth? 
  • Check in to see how you are feeling throughout your appointment? 
  • Invite questions and answer them to your satisfaction? 
  • Ensure you know if your mouth is healthy? 
  • Make sure you are aware of and understand any problems that may be present? 
  • Discuss short and long-term problems? 
  • Discuss all available treatment options in a way that you understand? 
  • Make you feel respected and supported in your treatment decisions? 

Do they take the time to get to know you? 

At Medland Dental we believe the best exam and clean also involves a great deal of trust.  For over 60 years we’ve committed ourselves to providing not only technically excellent dentistry but exceptional care. Partnering with our patients to support their oral health journey has always been at the heart of what we do.   

We call an exam and clean an ‘Active Maintenance’ appointment.  These appointments acknowledge that maintaining our oral and general health involves constant work to detect and respond to signs of disease.  They are so much more than just an exam and clean.