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In addition to daily brushing and flossing, you can help protect your oral health by seeing your dentist regularly for checkups. It's recommended that most people get a dental checkup every six months, but your dentist may recommend more frequent or fewer visits, depending on your dental health
The Dental Checkup:
Cleaning and polishing. Your dental hygienist will use a special instrument called a hand scaler or ultrasonic dental instrument to scrape and remove the tartar from your teeth. He or she will then polish your teeth, often with a rotating rubber cup or brush, to remove any remaining plaque or stains.
X-rays are still an important part of any dental examination to help diagnose any problems under the surface or around the foundations of the teeth.
These are usually taken by having you bite on a small tab which steadies the x-ray film in your mouth while the dentist positions the x-ray beam so that they can take the picture (bitewing x-rays). The x-ray beam looks exactly like a telescope. It’s usually on the end of a mechanical arm so it can be adjusted to get it close to the x-ray film for the best picture. It’s because the x-rays travel in a straight line that often there’s no need to wear heavy lead aprons any more
The x-ray films that you hold in your mouth aren’t terribly mouth shaped and some patients find them uncomfortable, but they’re usually over fairly quickly. These films are made of soft plastic and are about 3cm x 4cm in size, although smaller ones are available. The smaller x-ray films do not show as many teeth however and your dentist might have to take more pictures then. To hold the film in your mouth the dentist will ask you to gently close your teeth together on to a small paper tab or plastic holder whilst the film is in your mouth. If you feel something soft, like a sausage, between your teeth it might be the dentist’s finger! Please resist the urge to bite too hard…