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Why Do I Need a General Dentist?
Have you heard the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” Well, that certainly applies to your oral health. Unchecked and untreated dental problems can progress to an advanced stage of gum disease, which could lead to tooth loss and more serious health complications.
That’s why it’s so important to find an experienced general dentist who can first identify areas of concern and then offer preventive and restorative treatments. Your general dentist is someone you can trust to look out for your overall health and well-being.
What Does a General Dentist Do?
A general dentist examines your mouth, teeth, and gums to determine the condition of your oral health. If any areas of concern are found during the examinations, the dentist will accurately diagnose the issues and provide treatment recommendations.
Professional General Dentistry Services at Osseo Family Dental:
How Often Will My Dentist Want to See Me?
For regular preventive care, we recommend that you get a checkup and cleaning every six months. Depending on what your examination reveals, you may need to return for treatment and follow-up visits.
How Much Time Will My Appointments Take?
On average, a general dental examination and cleaning should take under an hour. However, the length of your appointment time will vary depending on your unique dental needs. We know your time is valuable, but we want to ensure that your examination is thorough and that it accurately identifies problems that need to be addressed.
How Should I Prepare for an Appointment?
If you’d like to use your appointment time efficiently, there are some tasks you can take care of in advance. As a new patient, you’ll need to fill out some paperwork. Our staff will direct you to forms you can fill out online and either email them to us or print out and bring to your appointment.
Also, it’s a good idea to know whether or not the dentist is an in-network provider and how much you expect dental insurance to cover. You’ll be more relaxed if you are knowledgeable about what your insurance company is prepared to offer and the copay amount you’re expected to pay on the day of the appointment.
You’ll also feel more at ease if you’re not in a rush to complete the appointment and get back to the office or your home. Although a general exam and cleaning should take less than an hour, feel free to call our office to get an accurate estimate of your upcoming appointment length.
Finally, be prepared to be honest about your health and your oral care routine. Don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed if you haven’t seen a dentist in a while. The more we know about your overall health, the more equipped we’ll be to make accurate recommendations for treatment and disease prevention.
How Much Does a Dental Exam Cost?
While dental insurance should cover most or a portion of a general dental check-up and cleaning, the insurance company and the level of coverage you’ve purchased will determine how much they’re willing to pay for treatments and procedures.
But if you don’t have dental insurance or your coverage is less than what you expected, the team at Osseo Family Dental will go out of its way to help you afford your treatments. We offer convenient financing options and can create a payment plan that works for your budget.
What Happens When You Miss Your Dental Checkups?
You may think you can skip the checkup and just take extra good care of your teeth at home. But without a professional exam, you’ll be in the dark about potential problems that could become worse if you ignore them.
Regular checkups – twice a year – allow your dentist to identify oral health concerns and to treat them before they lead to infection and possible tooth loss. With preventive care, you can save a lot of money that would have to be spent on restorative procedures.
Teeth Cleaning and General Dental Exams
Are you looking for a professional cleaning and dental exam? At Osseo Family Dental, we’ll perform a thorough examination in addition to cleaning and polishing your teeth.
Here’s what our dentists are looking for during your general exam:
- The dentist will examine each tooth to learn if any of them are decayed, loose, or cracked. We’ll suggest restorative treatments based on the amount of decay or damage.
- Next, we’ll use a dental instrument to determine if your gums are pulling away from your teeth. This may be a sign of impending gum disease and we’ll recommend procedures that will either reverse it or treat it.
- If you currently have restorations (fillings, crowns, bridges,dentures, implants), we’ll check to see if they fit well or need adjustment or repair.
- We’ll assess your bite to see if misalignment is or could be causing damage to your teeth and gums.
- We’ll look for signs that you may be grinding or clenching your teeth, which can cause them to wear down or lead to pain and headaches. If so, we’ll recommend a nighttime appliance that can prevent your grinding activity while you sleep.
- We’ll screen you for oral cancer.
How Do I Know if I Need a Deep Cleaning or a Routine Cleaning?
If you haven’t seen a dentist in a while, it may be necessary for you to have a deep cleaning. Deep cleaning means more than just spending extra time in the dental chair during your routine appointment.
There’s actually an official dental term for a deep cleaning. It’s called Scaling and Root Planing, and it’s used to treat the beginning stages of gum diseases. A routine cleaning, on the other hand, is meant to prevent gum disease. If your dentist recommends a deep cleaning, you’re already showing signs of gingivitis.
Here’s what you can expect during the two separate procedures:
- Scaling – The dentist will use special instruments to remove plaque and tartar up to the gum line.
- Root planing – The instrument will clean beneath the gum line and smooth the tooth root. A smooth tooth root reduces inflammation and makes it easier for your gums to heal and reattach to your teeth.
Local anesthetics will keep you comfortable during both procedures. For a few days after your deep cleaning, you may feel some soreness, and you might have increased sensitivity for a couple of weeks. But the deep cleaning process can save your gums by reversing the early stages of gum disease.
Is an Oral Cancer Screening Necessary?
Early detection is key to better health outcomes. That’s why most dentists recommend that adults between 20 and 40 get screened for oral cancer every three years, while those 40 and older are screened annually.
Patients who are at greater risk – regardless of age – should also be screened every year. Risk factors include tobacco use, heavy drinkers, those with the human papillomavirus (HPV), and those with a family history of cancer.
How Do I Cure My Bad Breath?
Bad breath can be caused by a number of underlying health conditions – such as gastrointestinal issues, allergies and respiratory ailments, diabetes, or even problems related to your liver or kidneys. It’s a good idea to check with your primary care doctor to rule out any issues that are associated with foul-smelling breath.
But bad breath is often rooted in oral health problems that are easily identified by your general dentist.
If it’s bacteria buildup (plaque) that’s causing bad breath, your dentist may recommend either an antibacterial mouth rinse or toothpaste. Faulty or ill-fitting crowns, permanent bridges, or dental implants may also be harboring bacteria, so your dentist will need to adjust or replace those restorations.
But the bacteria associated with gum disease can collect in the deep gum pockets that have pulled away from your teeth. You will be able to eliminate your bad breath when your dentist treats your gum disease and you take steps afterward to improve your daily oral care routine.
Think of Your General Dentist as the Guardian of Your Oral Health
A qualified general dentist has both the knowledge and experience to assess your oral health, identify issues or problem areas, recommend the appropriate treatments, and expertly perform the necessary treatments.
How can you get even more from your dental visits? By establishing a partnership with a dentist that will closely monitor your health and provide recommendations that are tailored precisely for you.
The dentists and all of the team members at Osseo Family Dental are dedicated to offering a level of personal care that you won’t find at other dental practices. Our mission is to get to know you, your medical history, and to always keep your needs in mind when we make a suggestion. We won’t try to sell you services you don’t need.
Contact us to schedule your general exam and cleaning. We promise to offer the best care available in the Osseo area and to treat you with dignity and respect.