Dental Checkups
& Cleanings

Dental checkups and cleanings are essential for laying the foundation of good oral health. Not only do they help establish solid habits, they also help detect potential problems in their early stages, when they are easiest to treat.

 

young girl eagerly awaiting treatment from friendly dental depot staff

Think of dental checkups and cleanings like the routine physicals you get for your body, only for your mouth. Oral health is linked to everything from your cardiovascular system to your mental health, so taking care of it is just as important as everything you do for your body. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends everyone get two checkups and cleanings a year, about six months apart. Children should start visiting the dentist between their first birthday or with the eruption of their first tooth; even if it isn’t to get a tooth cleaning, it still helps introduce young children to the experience of visiting the dentist, reducing fear and anxiety later on.

At Dental Depot, we make it easy and affordable for Oklahomans and their families to receive the routine dental checkups and cleanings they need for good oral health. We also make it convenient, with multiple exam rooms and a full staff and many locations open six days a week and in the evening, so you can schedule everyone all at once when it fits your busy schedule. Whether you’re in Norman, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, or anywhere in between, you can trust Dental Depot to deliver the quality dental care you deserve.

Why are dental checkups and cleanings important?

Dental checkups and cleanings are important for keeping teeth and gums clean and healthy. By cleaning hard-to-reach areas like between teeth, the back of the mouth, and along the gum line, dental cleanings provide a gentle and non-invasive method for minimizing the accumulation of plaque and tartar that can cause cavities and gum disease.

Dental checkups allow your dentist the opportunity to examine your mouth, teeth, gums, tongue, and throat for any abnormalities, infection, or signs of decay. Many oral health conditions are highly treatable, if not entirely preventable, so catching them early can make sure they don’t get worse and cost you in time, money, and discomfort down the road.

What happens during a dental checkup and cleaning?

Dental checkups and cleanings typically occur during the same appointment, with the cleaning happening first, performed by a dental hygienist.  

Dental cleanings

Dental cleanings are necessary for removing plaque and tartar. Even if you clean your teeth thoroughly, you will still develop tartar that needs to be removed. A form of calcified plaque, tartar cannot be removed by flossing or brushing and must be removed professionally. The dental hygienist will use specialized tools to scrape the tartar off your teeth, brush them, and floss. If you need any dental x-rays, those will be performed before your cleaning. Once your teeth have been cleaned, you’ll be ready for the exam.

Dental Checkups

During a dental checkup or exam, the dentist will look for signs of tooth decay, enamel wear and gum disease. Your dentist will also use diagnostic tools to evaluate the health of tissues beneath the surface – specifically the roots of teeth and the jaw. Diagnostic imaging can assist in revealing congenital and developmental abnormalities that might require the attention of a specialist such as an oral surgeon or orthodontist. All of us have the potential of developing common oral health conditions including dental caries and inflamed or irritated gums (periodontal disease). Many times, these conditions develop due to diet and poor oral hygiene practices. Regular dental checkups can help your dentist identify these problems before they advance and sometimes prevent them from happening at all.

Dental Checkups and Cleanings as Preventative Care

Dental checkups and cleanings also give your dentist the chance to perform any preventative treatments that can help protect your teeth from decay and cavities. When combined with a healthy diet, proper oral hygiene, and routine visits to the dentist, preventative treatments can provide extra strength and protection to teeth with weak enamel or that are at risk for developing cavities. The two most common preventative dental treatments are fluoride and dental sealants.

Fluoride treatment

Tooth enamel is made of minerals, and when exposed to strong acid, its mineral content (and strength) can be stripped away. A naturally occurring mineral, fluoride is scientifically proven to strengthen teeth by attracting minerals to the surface of tooth enamel, which will ultimately help replenish lost mineral content. Strong, healthy tooth enamel is key in protecting teeth against cavity causing bacteria. Fluoride treatments are quick and easy and involve simply applying a fluoridated varnish or gel to the teeth.

Dental sealants

Dental sealants are another preventive method for protecting teeth from bacteria and decay. Using a disease-resistant, plastic compound, sealants are applied over the pits and grooves of the teeth and quickly hardened with a curing light. This ensures that the biting surfaces of the teeth are more protected against damage and harmful bacteria. Dental sealants are commonly used on the back molars, especially in children or other individuals who don’t yet have good hygiene or can’t brush their back teeth effectively. What’s more is that most dental insurances, including Soonercare/Medicaid, cover dental sealants in children at 100%, often up to age 12-16, depending on the policy. 

Dental Checkups and Cleanings at Dental Depot

At Dental Depot, we believe good oral health starts with prevention, and that keeping your mouth healthy keeps your whole body healthy. That’s why we work hard to provide Oklahomans in the communities we serve with exceptional preventative dental care like dental checkups and cleanings. All of our locations boast full staffs of highly trained dentists, dental hygienists, and dental specialists, as well as state-of-the-art equipment and diagnostic imaging technology. We’re experienced in identifying risk factors and symptoms of myriad oral health conditions, so if we do notice something, you can receive the same continuity of care at the same convenient location, no matter what you need.

Flexibility and affordability are also important to us, so we offer appointments six days a week at many locations as well as the ability to visit any location and schedule your family at the same time, so you can get in, get out, and get back to your busy life. We accept most major dental insurances, SoonerCare, and CareCredit, and our friendly financing staff is always ready to work with you to develop individualized payment plans and options that fit your budget. We also host various community events for uninsured, low-income, and at-risk patients, because everyone deserves a healthy, beautiful smile.

Find the location nearest you and schedule your dental checkup and cleaning. We can’t wait to serve you.

Dental Cleanings and Checkups FAQs

Regular dental checkups and cleanings provide an array of benefits to your oral and overall health. Routine visits allow your dentist to address any concerns in a timely manner, so little problems don’t become big problems, and to minimize any plaque or bacteria accumulation, which could cause complications in the future like cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease.

The American Dental Association recommends most people visit the dentist every 6 months for a check-up and cleaning. During these visits, a dental hygienist will professionally clean your teeth to remove any plaque or tartar that has accumulated or developed, and a dentist will examine your teeth, mouth, and tongue for any signs of tooth decay, infection, or other health concern. If you have significant problems with your oral health, such as gum disease or severe tooth decay, your dentist may recommend that you come in more frequently so they can monitor and treat your condition.

With Saturday and evening appointments available at many of our Dental Depot Oklahoma locations, we make it easy for you and your family to get the care you need when it works for you, and our ample office space allows us to see everyone in your family at the same time. You can even schedule your next appointment prior to leaving our office. 

On average, a dental checkup or cleaning lasts between 30 and 60 minutes. During a checkup or cleaning, a dental hygienist will professionally clean and floss your teeth and the dentist will examine your oral hygiene and assess your risk for oral cancer. The purpose of a dental cleaning is to remove plaque and tartar–which build up and cannot be cleaned with brushing alone–and identify any signs of tooth decay, infection, or other problems like bone loss. The exact length of your appointment will depend on factors like how long it takes the hygienist to clean your teeth, if you are having any x-rays, and if you are receiving any additional treatments such as fluoride. Additionally, many Dental Depot Oklahoma locations offer assisted hygiene–providing hygienists with an extra set of hands to get your teeth prepped and ready to clean.

Dental cleanings are a gentle and non-invasive preventative measure to preserve and maintain gum and tooth health. Usually when one refers to a cleaning it is a prophylaxis dental cleaning, which is intended to prevent cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease from developing. Deep cleaning, on the other hand, is used to treat gum disease by removing bacteria that has formed under infected gum tissue. Dental deep cleaning is also commonly referred to as scaling and root planing. No matter what type of cleaning you receive, all cleanings have the same purpose of removing debris and increasing oral health and overall wellbeing. 

Generally speaking, a dental cleaning, dental exam, and dental checkup all happen at the same time during your bi-annual visit to the dentist. The dental cleaning portion of your visit is when the hygienist removes plaque, tartar, and debris from your teeth and gums, professionally brushes them with a strong toothpaste, and flosses them. The dental exam, or dental checkup,  is when the dentist assesses your oral health by evaluating each tooth, assessing your gum health, and evaluating your risk for oral cancer. 

You and your family can receive all of these services and more at Dental Depot Oklahoma, where we make it easy and convenient to get the affordable care you need for a healthy smile. 

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Dental Checkups

During our dental checkups, our dentists will look for signs of tooth decay, enamel wear and gum disease. We will also use diagnostic tools to evaluate the health of tissues beneath the surface – specifically the roots of teeth and the jaw. Diagnostic imaging can assist in revealing congenital and developmental abnormalities that might require the attention of a specialist such as an oral surgeon or orthodontist. All of us have the potential of developing common oral health conditions including dental caries and inflamed or irritated gums (periodontal disease). Many times, these conditions develop due to diet and poor oral hygiene practices. Regular dental checkups can help your dentist identify these problems before they advance and sometimes prevent them from happening at all.

Other Preventative Treatments

Preventing oral disease is one of the most important aspects of dentistry. While prevention certainly begins with practicing proper oral hygiene, maintaining a healthy diet and visiting our office regularly, there are some treatments we can administer that help strengthen teeth to prevent dental injuries and tooth decay. Two of the most common preventive dental treatments include the administration of fluoride and the application of dental sealants.

Fluoride Treatment

Tooth enamel is made of minerals, and when exposed to strong acid, its mineral content (and strength) can be stripped away. A naturally occurring mineral, fluoride is scientifically proven to strengthen teeth by attracting minerals to the surface of tooth enamel, which will ultimately help replenish lost mineral content. Strong, healthy tooth enamel is key in protecting teeth against cavity causing bacteria. Fluoride treatments are quick and easy and involve simply applying a fluoridated varnish or gel to the teeth.

Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are another preventive method for protecting teeth from bacteria and decay. Using a disease-resistant, plastic compound, sealants are applied over the pits and grooves of the teeth and quickly hardened with a curing light. This ensures that the biting surfaces of the teeth are more protected against damage and harmful bacteria.

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