Dental News

Do You Know the Difference Between a Dental Cleaning and a Dental Exam?

July 26, 2016

Do You Know the Difference Between a Dental Cleaning and a Dental Exam?

Most people get a dental exam at the same time they have their teeth cleaned so they may not realize that these are actually two distinct services provided by your local California dentist. At California Dental Group we are strong supporters of regular exams and cleanings. Learn what you should expect during both procedures.

What to expect during a dental exam

What’s done at your dental exam will vary based on your situation but you can expect that most dental exams will include:

  • X-Rays. These are the best way we have to detect, cysts, bone loss, decay, and tumors. They also help us take a better look at the positions of your teeth and roots.
  • Examining existing restorations. If you have crowns, fillings, or other restorative work then we’ll take a look to make sure everything’s in good shape. We’ll note if any repairs or replacements are needed.
  • Screening for oral cancer. We’ll take a look at your throat, gums, face, tongue, neck, lips, and tissues to see if we can find any signs of oral cancer.
  • Examining for tooth decay. We’ll check every tooth surface with professional dental instruments to determine if there’s any decay.
  • Screening for gum disease. We’ll take a look at your gums and the bones around your teeth to see if there are any signs of periodontal disease.

Your exam may include additional steps if you’re in pain during your visit or if you have a history of a specific type of oral health issue.

What to expect during a dental cleaning

Generally speaking, your dental cleaning will be performed by a Registered Dental Hygienist. If you a history or oral health issues or a specific problem the day you come visit us, then you may receive treatments beyond what’s listed. However, a typical dental cleaning includes:

  • Removing plaque. Many people don’t know that plaque is actually a living colony of bacteria. It grows if it’s not removed, by feeding on food debris on the surface of your teeth. As it eats, it produces toxins that can then inflame your guns, which is the cause of periodontal disease. Plaque is sticky and almost invisible, which makes it difficult or impossible to completely remove it without a professional dental cleaning.
  • Removing tarter. Tarter is located both above and below your gum lines and it can only be removed via professional dental instruments. Essentially, tarter is hardened plaque that’s been left on the tooth and has attached itself to the tooth.
  • Polishing teeth. The final step is typically teeth polishing. During this step, your hygienist will use professional dental equipment to get rid of plaque and stains that wasn’t removed during your typical tooth brushing and flossing routine.

Both dental cleanings and dental exams

Hopefully, now you understand that the purpose of a dental cleaning is to clean the team while an exam is there to diagnosis any issues you have. When you visit California Dental Group we can customize your visit to your exact needs. Work with the California dental office that takes our patient’s needs and concerns seriously. Call us today at (800) 407-0161 to set up your appointment.

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