Comprehensive dental exams are essential to maintaining good overall oral and dental health and preventing future conditions or diseases.
Our Dental Examinations
At Vashon Dental, teeth cleanings and exams are two of the essential procedures Dr. Leif Rasmussen performs. He encourages everyone to schedule biannual checkups to help them maintain good oral health. Brushing your teeth regularly and scheduling biannual cleanings can prevent plaque and tartar from damaging the teeth permanently.
Not only do biannual dental checkups reduce plaque and tartar buildup, but they also allow Dr. Leif to examine the soft tissues of the mouth to ensure there are no other existing oral health concerns. Biannual dental checkups will enable him to examine teeth for weak spots where potential cavities may appear. He also can determine whether the patient needs further instructions on how to brush or care for their teeth properly.
Two oral healthcare professionals - Dr. Rasmussen and your dental hygienist – will see you. The hygienist will conduct an initial oral exam of your gums. The hygienists will document any issues and record the evaluation.
Hygienists document any changes in your overall health and medicine use, clean and polish your teeth, talk to you about caring for your teeth and gums, and answer any questions you might have about home care products. Dr. Rasmussen will also conduct an oral exam of your gums and teeth, ask about changes in your overall health or medicine use, review the cleaning done by the hygienist, look for signs of oral cancer and other diseases, diagnose any oral health problems, and make treatment recommendations.
Although home-based tooth brushing and flossing help remove plaque, only a professional cleaning – provided by your dental hygienist – can thoroughly clean your teeth and remove the hardened plaque (called calculus or tartar) that builds up on teeth. Most hygienists use a series of metal hand instruments to clean your teeth. Some are using ultrasonic scalers, which provide deep cleaning above and below the gum line.
After your teeth have been cleaned, they are polished to remove plaque and stains on the tooth surface. The polish contains an abrasive substance and fluoride, and is applied using a small rotating rubber cup or brush attached to the dental hand piece.
Your hygienist might offer additional instructions for you to follow at home, based on the results of your exam. Don’t hesitate to ask your hygienist for instructions about brushing or flossing, or general care questions about your teeth and gums.
X-rays may or may not be taken during your checkup. Dr. Rasmussen will consider your oral exam, dental history, and risk for developing cavities to decide if you absolutely need X-rays.
If any oral health problems are found during your examination, Dr. Rasmussen will make recommendations for the best next steps. These might include a few tests, or a return visit for restoration work (for example, fillings and crowns), or additional oral healthcare.