It’s no secret that going to the dentist for routine dental exams and professional cleanings is essential to preventing oral health problems. What you might not realize, though, is that dental exams and cleanings are two separate procedures with different purposes, techniques, and benefits. Before scheduling your next appointment for a dental checkup and cleaning with the friendly team at Dentistree of Manassas, here’s what you should know about the differences between these two preventative treatments. 

What to Expect During Regular Dental Exams

The American Dental Association recommends that children and adults have their teeth examined by a dentist at least every six months, sometimes more often if they have certain oral health concerns, such as gum disease. A comprehensive dental exam is usually very quick and painless. During your exam at Dentistree of Manassas, here’s what you can expect to take place:

  • Dr. Seto will observe the condition of your teeth, gums, and the soft tissues of your mouth for signs of tooth decay, periodontal disease, and dental issues, including oral cancer. 
  • He will also have dental X-rays of your mouth taken to see what is happening beneath the surface of your teeth and gums.
  • Dr. Seto may create an individualized treatment plan to treat any oral health concerns found based on what he observes in your mouth and from the X-rays. 
  • Finally, he will recommend how to better care for your teeth and gums if necessary. 

Most dental exams can be completed in less than half an hour, depending on the condition of your teeth and gums. Because they’re so quick, they’re usually scheduled during the same appointment time as your six-month cleaning. While these treatments take place back-to-back, they are two completely distinct dental care procedures. 

What to Expect During a Cleaning

Like a routine oral exam, professional dental cleanings typically take around thirty minutes and are pain-free. During your teeth cleanings at Dentistree of Manassas, here’s what you can expect to occur:

  • Our dental hygienist will use a small mirror to observe your gums, looking for any potential concerns, such as recession or inflammation.
  • Then, they will use a special tool called a scaler to carefully remove plaque and tartar buildup from the surface of your teeth. Plaque is a clear, sticky film that develops on the surface of your teeth from not thoroughly brushing or flossing. If not removed, plaque buildup can harden into tartar which can lead to dental problems, such as gum disease. 
  • Once the plaque and tartar have been scraped from your teeth and gum line, they’ll apply gritty toothpaste to polish each one. 
  • Lastly, they will floss between your teeth and give you a fluoride rinse to wash away any bits of remaining debris.

Along with helping your teeth stay beautiful and clean, professional cleanings are essential in preventing dental health problems from developing or progressing. For this reason, it’s necessary to have your teeth cleaned at the dentist twice a year, even if they appear to be in good condition.

Schedule Your Next Dental Exam and Cleaning at Dentistree of Manassas

If it’s been a while since you or your child have had a routine dental exam or professional cleaning, there’s no better time than now to schedule your next appointment with the trusted team at Dentistree of Manassas. We offer a variety of professional dental services in a comfortable setting to each of our patients to ensure that they receive exceptional care every time they visit us. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and see how convenient caring for your smile can be!