Years of Professional Dental Treatment
Elevated Patient Care Since 1997.
At Classic Smiles, we strive to make dental care easy and stress-free. With more than twenty years of experience serving Iowa City residents, we know how important it is to provide professional yet caring dental treatment.
Some of the services we provide include:
- Cosmetic Dentistry
For more in-depth services, such as wisdom teeth extraction and root canal treatment, we work directly with specialty offices.
Classic Smiles is conveniently located at 611 E Burlington Street, just a short walk from downtown Iowa City. Drop by whenever you're in the area, make an appointment online, or contact us by calling 319.727.8007.Learn More
Understanding the Dental Exam and Cleaning Procedures in Iowa City
The standard dental exam and cleaning process in Iowa City is usually streamlined, simple, and easy enough for most people to understand. However, some first-time patients or those who have had little experience with dental care may not know the purpose of dental exams and teeth cleaning. Many people have misconceptions about this process that may drive them from treatment.
As a result, they may refuse to come to treatment or have anxiety, making it hard for them to go to a dental expert. Thankfully, it is relatively easy to understand the purpose of these exams and why they are necessary for your oral health treatment and as a preventative for other long-term health concerns. Thankfully, most dentists will be more than willing to talk about this situation with you.
What is a Dental Exam and Cleaning Session?
Dental exams and teeth cleaning are your routine dental visit, designed to catch minor dental problems and manage them before they become more severe. During this type of visit, your dentist will take steps to exam your teeth, looking for signs of decay, cleaning your teeth, and providing other types of care. Typical steps that you’ll experience during this process include:
- In-Depth Examination — During your exam, your dentist will use ample overhead light to illuminate the interior of your mouth. Then, they’ll use various mirrors and magnifying elements to spot potential problems throughout your mouth. During this process, they may use a few tools to identify holes in the teeth and decide if they are problematic enough to require some type of more intensive treatment.
- Toothpaste and Flossing — After examining your teeth, your dentist will use a powered toothbrush to apply a potent toothpaste that will break apart plaque and other buildups with ease, giving you an in-depth cleaning that ordinary brushing cannot. They’ll also floss your teeth to break apart any plaque or food in hard-to-reach areas and keep your teeth from getting damaged.
- Scrape Cleaning Processes — If there are plaque buildups in your mouth that your dentist cannot remove with flossing or brushing, they’ll use various metal tools to scrape away these stains. Typically, they use meticulous and controlled movements that don’t put a lot of stress on your teeth and allow you to have a clean mouth with minimal effort or difficulty.
- Other Diagnosis Processes — Some of your dental exam and cleaning visits will utilize x-rays and other diagnostic equipment to spot long-term problems and ensure that you get the high-quality help that you need. Doing so will minimize your exposure to x-rays during your scanning process.
These dental exams typically take no more than 15-30 minutes after you are brought into the treatment area. Your time in the waiting room will vary, too, lasting anywhere from 5-60 minutes or more. This time varies based on how busy the dental expert is with teeth cleaning. Before you schedule an exam, though, it is worth knowing how often you should plan your visits to avoid complications.
Scheduling Your Visits
There are specific times when you should schedule a dental exam and cleaning trip with your dentist. The frequency with which you go to the dentist will vary in various situations. The American Dental Association (ADA) states that your trips should be based on your dentist’s assessment.
For instance, your dentist may decide that your teeth are in rough shape and that more visits are necessary to keep you and your oral health as strong as possible. In this way, dental exams and teeth cleaning sessions may be staggered throughout your year in a manner that makes sense for you. Here’s a typical schedule option:
- High-Risk Individuals — People who smoke cigarettes, drink a lot of coffee, or come from a family with a history of dental issues may be considered high-risk individuals. Often, your dental professional will suggest that you come to see them 3-4 times per year, depending on your risk level. With lifestyle changes and treatment, you can get down to lower danger zones.
- Average-Risk People — If you don’t engage in high-risk activities but have some dental problems in your past, you may be considered of average risk. Those in this range usually have to visit a dentist no more than two times per year or once every six months. Follow proper dental procedures at home, and you may find yourself dropping to an even lower level of risk and fewer dental trips.
- Low-Risk Smiles — A low-risk smile is usually pretty rare and is based on an individual’s history, family records, and oral health management skills. In many cases, people with a low-risk smile don’t do any high-risk activities, rarely experience dental problems, and have no family history of troubles. Dentists suggest low-risk individuals visit a dentist at least once a year or more.
It is important to remember that your dentist may classify you differently than another professional, which may cause some confusion. For instance, one dentist may say that you are high-risk, but another may say that you are more in the average-to-low-risk range instead.
Second opinions aren’t a bad choice, especially if you question your first dentist’s diagnosis. While mistakes are possible in diagnosing cavities, dental treatment is a straightforward process, and there’s barely any chance that a diagnostic error has occurred during your dental exam and cleaning.
Managing Your Dental Problems ASAP
Fully understanding the dental exam and cleaning process shouldn’t take you too long to do. However, you may still be confused about dental exams and teeth cleaning or wonder about different elements that could affect your care. For example, suppose you have diabetes, obesity, or other types of health concerns. In that case, you may need specialized care to spot oral diseases that could worsen these conditions or which may end up impacting you over a long-term situation.
Thankfully, you can also call us at Classic Smiles to learn more about your care and get the long-term treatment you deserve. Our team can sit down and explain your exam to you and any other procedures that you may receive. They’ll also work with you and your primary caregiver to ensure that you don’t have any other health concerns that need to be addressed during your recovery. In this way, you can avoid the dangers of heart disease, strokes, and much more.