If you brush and floss twice daily and aren’t having any problems with your teeth, you might think that it’s okay to skip a checkup or cleaning.
Some people might even see going to the dentist as something that’s only necessary when there’s a problem. But if you wait until you are aware of a problem before you see the dentist, the procedures that will be necessary to correct it are likely to be more complicated than if the problem had been caught earlier.
Most people know that swollen or bleeding gums are a sign of gum disease. But gingivitis, the earliest form of gum disease, doesn’t cause noticeable symptoms like redness, swelling or bleeding until it’s at a somewhat serious stage. During a routine exam, Dr. Whitman can spot early warning signs of gingivitis. A routine professional cleaning can stop the disease from progressing to the more serious stage called periodontitis. Even if you brush and floss daily and have no symptoms that you can see or feel, you could have gingivitis. Most people get it at some point in their lives. It can be caused by heredity, illness or certain medications, as well as by the build-up of food particles and debris.
“I’m so happy I saw Dr. Whitman when I did because she spotted early gum disease! She was extremely thorough and made sure I was informed and comfortable throughout my treatment. Working with her has been my most positive experience with a dentist so far!”
— DJ, Woodburn, VA
When DJ came in as a first-time patient for a checkup, he was surprised when Dr. Whitman noted he had signs of early gingivitis, the initial stage of periodontal disease. “I’ve always been good about taking care of my teeth at home. I thought nothing was wrong.”
Dr. Whitman explained that in some patients, gingivitis won’t cause symptoms until it’s progressed to a certain point. After discussing treatment options, Dr. Whitman conducted a deep cleaning, which resolved the problem.
“The treatment was simple and Dr. Whitman was very positive and informative the entire time. Thanks to her, my teeth and gums not only look good but feel good!”
Though gingivitis is easy to reverse with a cleaning, if it isn’t caught until it has become periodontitis, a more invasive cleaning would be necessary. And letting periodontitis go untreated will almost certainly lead to tooth loss. A routine dental exam and cleaning can go hand-in-hand to keep your gums and your teeth healthy. You should schedule an exam and cleaning every six months. Of course, if you ever experience unusual symptoms or pain in your teeth or gums between appointments, you should call to make an appointment.
Routine Dental Checkups and Cleaning FAQs
Some common questions that people ask about routine checkups and cleanings at Leesburg Family & Cosmetic Dentistry are:
What happens during a checkup?
Dr. Whitman will give you an oral exam and may use imaging or ask you questions to make a complete check of your overall oral health. Then she will discuss her findings with you.
What is involved in a dental cleaning?
A professional dental cleaning in our office differs from your brushing and flossing routine at home because each individual tooth is cleaned thoroughly. Depending on Dr. Whitman’s recommendation, you may also receive a fluoride treatment during your cleaning to help strengthen your tooth enamel.
If I have advanced gum disease, will a cleaning take care of it?
Routine dental cleaning can reverse gingivitis, which is gum disease that is only present above the gumline. When plaque and tartar (the hardened form of plaque) have spread below the gumline, the condition is called periodontitis. A deep cleaning is needed to treat this. A deep cleaning involves using special dental tools under the gums to clean out the plaque and tartar.
“Me and my family have been with Dr. Whitman for many years. She makes my 12 and 7 year old feel comfortable and not fear the dentist. When needed in the case of an emergency,
the practice always gets us in quickly. PS, all of the staff is extremely friendly.” 5 out of 5 stars – Shane Dowler on 03/20/2018
“Dr. Kime Whitman is highly accomplished, intelligent and kind. In her dentistry she is meticulous, careful, low key, soft spoken, efficient, effective and gentle. One cannot be in better hands than with Dr Whitman.” 5 out of 5 stars – Sandy Marks on 06/11/2018
“Dr Whitman is fantastic! She is really gentle and deals well with patients that have anxiety. Not only is she wonderful but so is her entire staff. They are all very friendly and personable.” 5 out of 5 stars – Cat Leftely on 02/02/2017