St. Paul Family Dentist Describes Steps Involved in Exams and Professional Cleanings

Written by Drs. Mark and Rachel Malterud on Jan 20, 2015

Two crucial aspects of effective oral health care are comprehensive dental exams and professional dental cleanings. This is common knowledge, and most patients at our St. Paul Family Dentist understand that these two preventive procedures are essential steps in providing our dental professional with sufficient information to treat us effectively.

But many new patients may be unaware of exactly what is involved in a comprehensive dental exam and cleaning. The following is a brief summary of the steps that should be taken:

Dental Exam

  • A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by our St. Paul Family Dentist at your initial dental visit.  At regular check-up exams, your dentist and hygienist will include the following:
  • Examination of diagnostic x-rays: This step is essential for detecting decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss.  X-rays will also help determine tooth and root positions.
  • Oral cancer screening: Your dentist should check your face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
  • Gum disease evaluation: It is essential to check the gums and bone surrounding the teeth for signs of periodontal disease.
  • Examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces should be checked for decay
  • Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.

Professional Dental Cleaning

Professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis) should be performed by a registered dental hygienist. Appointments for cleanings include a dental exam as well as the following:

  • Removal of calculus (tartar): When plaque is allowed to remain on the teeth it hardens and forms a deposit known as Calculus. Brushing will not remove Calculus since it is calcified and adheres to the teeth above and below the gum line; calculus can only be removed with special dental instruments.
  • Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth.  Plaque is actually a collection of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva.  These bacteria produce toxins that will inflame the gums and ultimately lead to periodontal disease.
  • Teeth polishing: Polishing is the final step in the process of your professional cleaning and removes stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.

Regular dental cleanings and exams are an easy, cost-affordable method for avoiding periodontal disease and other oral health problems. Please contact our dentist office today to make an appointment for these important services.