A dentist's job is to care for your teeth. They accomplish this using a few different tools and techniques. When you step into a dental office, you can be assured that your mouth is in good hands. Here are four things a dentist can do for you.
1. Clean your teeth.
Plaque is a sticky substance that naturally forms on teeth. It's made from a combination of bacteria and saliva. If plaque isn't removed regularly, it can harden, turning into tartar. Tartar is hard to remove without the proper tools. You need the help of a dentist to clean it away. Fortunately, dentists perform professional cleanings for patients. You should have your teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist at least twice a year. People with preexisting dental problems may benefit from three cleanings each year.
2. Look for gum disease.
Just as bacteria can affect the health of your teeth, it can affect your gum health as well. Gum disease occurs when bacteria get trapped beneath the gums. Gum inflammation and erosion can occur, which can lead to unwanted consequences, like loose teeth. Your dentist can check your gum health by measuring the depth of your gums. Shallow gums are a sign of disease. If your dentist believes your gum health could be improved, they will likely recommend home care techniques, such as using mouthwash. They may also suggest root planing, a procedure performed in-office that will allow your dentist to manually remove tartar and bacteria below the gum line.
3. Perform diagnostic services.
Dentists also perform diagnostic services. If you have a toothache, a dentist will investigate to find the cause of your discomfort. Dentists diagnose tooth concerns by using mirrors and probing tools to view your teeth from all angles. They also utilize x-ray machines to look at the interior of your teeth, where decay may hide. Once you're diagnosed with a cavity, tooth infection, or another issue, your dentist can offer the correct treatment.
4. Educate you about oral care.
Patient education is part of a dentist's job. While a dentist is always there to treat tooth concerns, prevention is the best way to preserve your teeth. Your dentist will instruct you on the best way to brush and floss your teeth. Proper technique is effective and less likely to cause accidental injury. Listen to your dentist's advice and ask any questions that arise during the patient education portion of your dental exam.