A regular dental check-up is important because they help keep your teeth and gums healthy. You should have a regular dental visit at least every 6 months or as recommended by your dental professional.

What happens at your dental visit?

There are 2 parts to a regular dental visit – checkup, or examination and the cleaning, or oral prophylaxis.

At the dental check up your dental professional will check for cavities. X-rays might be taken to detect cavities between your teeth. The exam will also include a check for plaque and tartar on your teeth. Plaque is a clear, sticky layer of bacteria. If it is not removed, it can harden and become tartar. You cannot remove tartar with brushing and flossing. If plaque and tartar build-up on your teeth, they can cause oral diseases.

Next, your gums will be checked. This will be done with a special tool to measure the depth of the spaces between your teeth and gums. With healthy gums, the spaces are shallow. When people have gum disease, the spaces may become deeper.

The check-up should also include a careful examination of your tongue, throat, face, head, and neck. This is to look for any signs of trouble - swelling, redness, or possible signs of cancer.

Your teeth will also be cleaned at your visit. Brushing and flossing help clean the plaque from your teeth, but you can't remove tartar at home. During the cleaning, your dental professional will use special tools to remove tartar. This is called scaling