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What to Expect At a Dentist Visit

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

What to Expect At a Dentist Visit

Wondering if you should see a dentist? The answer is yes! No matter your age, your oral health is very important. Regular checkups will help you maintain a healthy smile. However, not everyone knows this. In fact, each year, 100 million Americans neglect to see a dentist, believe it or not (1).

Here’s why you should see a dentist, and what to expect when you do see one.

Why Should You See a Dentist?

Other than keeping your teeth clean, seeing a dentist has multiple benefits. Regular check-ups help improve your oral health, prevent any possible problems, and keep you in-check for your dental habits…for example, have you flossed today?

Second, your oral health is just one part of your TOTAL health—which is what we care about.

Dentists like Dr. Hagen complete a four-year bachelor degree, and then go on for an additional four years in dental school. There, dentists learn about the anatomy of the mouth, proper procedures to clean teeth, practice clinical procedures, how to examine the mouth for abnormalities, or other issues.

Dr. Hagen also has training in whole mouth rehabilitation, CEREC™ one-visit restorations, alternative treatments for sleep apnea, and crown and bridge restorations (and more!), allowing him to provide you with the state-of-the-art options for obtaining the smile of your dreams. This commitment to knowing the latest and greatest in our field ensures the highest level of care, both today and tomorrow.

So, when it comes to your smile, needless to say, dentists (and the entire dental team!) know what they’re talking about!

Now that you know why you should see a dentist, here’s what you can expect on your first dental visit:

complete cleaning at hagen dental

1. A Complete and Thorough Cleaning 

In order to keep anything in good condition, it needs to be cleaned regularly. The same goes for your teeth. Did you know a “teeth cleaning” does more than just clean your teeth?

Removing plaque is absolutely essential to preserve your teeth. It builds up on the tooth surfaces and between the teeth. Brushing and flossing are what you do at home—but a professional cleaning by your dentist removes bacteria, calculus (tartar), and debris, especially along your gum line.

A dental hygienist is someone professionally trained to perform teeth cleanings, among other responsibilities within the dental practice.

Again, he or she will use special instruments to scrape away excess tartar and plaque which can be harmful to your oral health. Cavities, oral disease, and bad breath can all be results of built-up plaque. Your hygienist will also scrape below the gum line to achieve a thorough cleaning. You’ll be able to feel the scraping, but it will not hurt (1).

2. A Full Oral Examination

Dentists and hygienists are the first line of defense in detecting something wrong with your oral health. After your teeth are squeaky clean, they’ll fully examine your mouth, searching for disease or other problems. The first step in treating any problem (minor or serious) is early detection—and that’s their goal with regular examinations (1).

These examinations are especially important in regards to checking for oral cancer. Did you know that each year in the US, approximately 30,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer? Worldwide, the problem is far more severe, with new cases annually approaching 300,000. In the US alone, someone dies from oral cancer each hour on each day. If you add the sub category of laryngeal cancers, the rates of occurrence (about 10,000 additional new cases per year) and death are significantly higher. However, the good news is, oral cancers have an 80 to 90% cure rate when detected early.

The process of checking for oral cancer includes a few different techniques. Your dentist or hygienist will thoroughly examine your tongue, checking the top, bottom, and sides. He or she will also check the roof of your mouth, the insides of your cheeks, and your gum tissues, ensuring there are no unusual lesions or abnormalities. Finally, your dentist or hygienist may feel around your jaw and neck to examine your lymph nodes for unusual swelling (2).

3. X-rays

Depending on how old you are and your risk for disease, your dentist or hygienist may suggest X-rays. X-rays can capture a detailed picture of your teeth and jaw structure, allowing your dentist to achieve a more thorough look at your mouth. Impacted teeth, jawbone damage, decay between teeth, tumors and cysts, and abscesses are all examples of problems that can be detected through an X-ray, which may not have been easily detected just by visual examination (1). In some cases, if you just had X-rays, we might access those and not do more X-rays in our office.

How Often Should You Visit the Dentist?

If your mouth and teeth are in healthy condition, it’s recommended that you see a dentist every three-six months. If you need further treatment after a checkup, you may need to visit the dentist sooner, and should make your next appointment while at your checkup. This includes treatment for cavities, wisdom teeth removal, broken teeth or crowns. And remember, every time you see us we are also screening for issues like oral cancer!

hagen dental practice caring team

Expect to See Friendly Faces at Hagen Dental Practice

Choosing a dentist is an important decision—so make sure you pick the right one! When you come to Hagen, you can expect to interact with a knowledgeable, warm, and friendly staff. We’re here to help you maintain your healthy smile, but we’re also here to make your experience enjoyable.

Give us a call today at (513) 251-5500 to schedule a visit!