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General dentistry encompasses a broad range of diseases and disorders of the teeth and gums. Everyone should see a dentist for routine oral care., General dentistry is as much about prevention as it is about treatment. Patients who visit their dentist can expect optimum dental health, as well as dental education and diligent homecare.

Did you know…

that the American Dental Association recommends that every American visit a general dentist a minimum of once every six months? Doing so can aid in the detection of decay, oral disease, and other dental health problems before they progress. If you are at risk for certain complications or have a history or periodontal disease, you may need to visit your dentist on a more frequent basis. Patients who visit their dentist regularly are more likely to retain their natural teeth and enjoy a lifetime of good oral health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to visit a general dentist?

Yes. Even if you are not currently experiencing any symptoms of tooth decay or gum disease, it is important to visit your dentist for a thorough examination and cleaning. Despite daily brushing and flossing, your teeth can still accumulate plaque that can harbor bacteria. This bacteria can lead to gum disease and tooth decay if not professionally removed at your dentist’s office.

What should I expect during my dentist visit?

Your visit will begin with a general evaluation of the condition of your teeth. If you have not been to the dentist in a while, your dentist may prescribe radiographs. A dental hygienist will then use special instruments to gently remove tartar along your gum line. Later, your dentist will review your x-rays and discuss any symptoms you may be experiencing. He or she will then make a recommendation for treatment and answer any questions you may have.

Are there any special instructions I need to follow after seeing my dentist?

Based on the results of your dental check-up, your dentist may recommend that you return for treatment or follow a special at-home oral health regimen. You may also be referred to a dental specialist for treatment of advanced dental conditions.



Preventative dental care is the foundation of dentistry. The American Dental Association recommends visiting your dentist regularly twice a year. Professional cleanings help remove built-up plaque that is not removable using conventional brushing and flossing. Often, dentists are also capable of identifying potential problems that patients are not yet able to see or feel. When you maintain regular preventative appointments, you can minimize decay and gum disease, as well as identify the beginnings of oral health issues before they become severe.

Did you know…

that Americans are less and less likely to visit the dentist as they age? Data from the Centers for Disease Control reports that only 57 percent of Americans over age 65 visited the dentist in 2015. That compares to about 61 percent of adults under age 65 and about 79 percent of children ages 2 to 17. Nonetheless, it is important to visit the dentist for cleanings and exams regardless of how long has passed since your most recent dental appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I really need to have my teeth professionally cleaned?

Yes. Even if you brush and floss after every meal and before bed, bacteria-harboring plaque can accumulate in the tiniest crevices, grooves, and pits. Over time, the teeth will begin to decay in those areas, which may result in pain and partial or total tooth loss.

What should I expect at my cleaning and exam consultation?

Your cleaning and consultation will consist of a visible examination of the teeth and gums. If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, you may also require radiographs for a more comprehensive view of your teeth. You’ll also consult with your dentist about any oral health issues you may be having or questions that you may have. The cleaning will follow, during which a dental hygienist will use special instruments to remove plaque from your teeth. Finally, your teeth will be polished before your dentist discusses any treatment recommendations he or she may have for you.

What types of guidelines should I follow after my visit?

In between dental cleanings and consultations, be sure to maintain good oral habits at home. This includes daily flossing and brushing after meals. It’s also important to drink fluoridated water and use a fluoridated toothpaste.

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Periodontal scaling and root planing are procedures used to treat periodontal disease. Commonly referred to as a ‘deep cleaning’, this procedure involves the careful removal of hardened plaque near the gum line, where harmful bacteria can grow and cause damage to both the hard and soft tissues of the mouth. The treatment starts with scaling, during which special instruments are used to scrape build up away from the teeth and gums. Root planing follows, which is a process of smoothing the surface of the tooth’s root in order to prevent bacteria from attaching there in the future. Finally, an antibiotic is administered to ensure that no bacteria remains at the treatment site.

Did you know…

that you cannot brush or rinse away hardened plaque that causes periodontal disease? The only thing you can do is prevent is from accumulating by using good brushing and flossing habits. Once tartar has formed, the only way to remove it is by a professional dental or periodontal cleaning.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a periodontal scaling and root planing?

You may need scaling and root planing if you are suffering from mild to moderate periodontal disease. Visit your dentist for an exam if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of periodontal disease, such as inflamed or receding gums, chronic halitosis, or loose teeth. If your periodontal disease is advanced, you may require grafting or flap surgery.

What should I expect during a scaling and root planing?

If you require a scaling and root planing, you’ll first be made comfortable – perhaps using a local anesthetic. You should feel little or no discomfort other than the sensation of the cleaning tools scraping away hardened plaque. Procedure lengths vary according to the extent of the disease and the areas it is located within the mouth. If your periodontal disease is widespread, you may need to spread out your treatment into multiple visits.

Will I need to follow any special post-treatment care instructions?

Yes. You’ll need to follow all instructions for antibiotic usage following your treatment. You’ll also be advised to avoid certain habits that can cause recurrences of periodontal disease in the future, such as smoking. Most patients experience little or no discomfort after scaling and root planing.

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