What Does A Dentist Do?
A dentist in arlington virginia is a medical professional who specializes in the care of your mouth, preventing, diagnosing, and treating conditions that involve your teeth, gums, jaw, and facial structure. Your dental health is vital to your overall health and as with many things, prevention is key in dentistry to keep everything healthy and working properly.
Dental emergencies are another reason you may seek treatment from a dentist. If you are in an accident and hurt your teeth or even your jaw, a dentist may be your first stop for treatment. A lot of hospitals also have a dentist on staff for just such emergencies so if you cannot get to your general dentist in an emergency situation, you may be able to get appropriate treatment at your local hospital.
Routine Dental Appointments
A routine dental appointment will involve a dental cleaning, exam, x-rays, and oral cancer screening. Most patients can adhere to a twice yearly schedule, having a preventative cleaning every six months but some patients who are at higher risk of developing gum disease or tooth decay will greatly benefit from a more frequent cleaning schedule.
Before your hygienist begins cleaning your teeth, they may need to update your dental x-rays. X-rays are a crucial part of a dental visit because they allow your dental professionals to see below the gum line in between teeth which they otherwise could not see. X-rays not only show cavities but problems in the bone structure can be seen as well! Allowing your hygienist to take x-rays as needed is important to catch problems before they become worse. A small cavity is much easier and less costly to fix than a big cavity that could end up requiring a root canal and a crown.
During your prophylactic dental cleaning, your dental hygienist will use a cavitron in conjunction with manual tools to scale around each tooth just below the gumline to remove stuck-on plaque and tartar. Patients with periodontal disease may require a deep cleaning, or scaling and root planing, at which time the area being treated will be numbed with a local anesthetic before the hygienist cleans out the gum pockets, reaching further below the gumline than during a routine cleaning which is why the anesthetic is necessary.
Your dental hygienist will also perform an oral cancer screening at each visit, especially if you are a smoker. The screening is simple as the hygienist examines the soft tissues in your mouth for any abnormalities and palpates your throat, feeling for anything suspicious.
Once your cleaning is complete, your dentist will pop in to examine your teeth and mouth. They will have you open and close your jaw and bite your teeth together to make sure everything is properly aligned and functioning normally. They will also review your x-rays possibly with you still in the chair to make sure they do not identify any areas of decay or periodontal disease.
Restorative Dental Appointments
Any event that your dentist identifies an area of decay or fracture during your routine cleaning, they will recommend treatment to restore the area and prevent it from getting worse. This may include a simple filling or even a crown. It is important to follow through with recommended treatment as soon as you were able so that things do not progress further.