More than likely you’ve been to a bi-yearly dental appointment, but for others it may be their first time, or maybe they’re coming back to the dentist after a long time and have forgotten what all is involved in the visit. This article will take you step by step through all the things involved in a bi-yearly checkup.

First up is the physical exam. These exams are mostly performed by dental hygienists and not the dentist themselves. This step involves the hygienist examining your mouth using a tiny mirror to check for inflamed gums, bleeding, sores, and signs of gingivitis. If nothing it found, they proceed to the next step. If there is something that concerns them, they will often call the dentist to take a look as well before proceeding. Depending on how long it has been, your dentist may also want to take x-rays to update your file before they begin the cleaning.

Second comes the cleaning, also performed by the hygienist. The hygienist will use the same mirror to look around your mouth while they use a scaler to clean the spaces between your teeth and around your gum line. This is often the most uncomfortable part of the cleaning process, but you can help to lessen it with proper brushing and flossing as this step is merely to get rid of the tartar and plaque that has built up in your mouth.

Third comes the polishing and cleaning with a gritty toothpaste. Combined with a high powered brush, this will both scrub your teeth clean, polish them, and remove any excess tartar left behind.

Fourth comes flossing, another unpleasant part for those who do not floss daily. If you do floss at home, this part will be simple with no bleeding or irritated gums, and will remove anything left behind by the two previous steps.

Lastly, the hygienist will rinse your mouth for one final sweep to get rid of anything lying around, then give you a toothbrush and a small container of floss and you’ll be ready to go.

You know by now that sore and bleeding gums are not normal and may be a sign that you have gingivitis, a very common dental condition that can be easily treated by your dentist if visited at the appropriate time. Failure to do so may make your gingivitis turn into something much more serious: a gum disease called periodontitis, which can then lead to infections and tooth loss.

50% of people have gingivitis and it’s because there are many risk factors for developing it. Such factors include:

  • Smoking
  • Dry mouth
  • Old age
  • Poor dental restorations
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Hormones
  • Vitamin C deficiency
  • Immunodeficiency diseases
  • Medications

With so many risk factors, it’s important to do everything you can in order to prevent gingivitis from happening. Such methods include:

  • Brushing twice a day
  • Flossing once a day
  • Visiting your dentist bi-yearly
  • Eating healthy foods
  • Cutting back on/quitting smoking

But say you already have gingivitis. What can you do to treat it? Well, there are a few methods, both at home and at the dentist’s that are available. Treatments for gingivitis include:

  • Antibacterial mouthwash and toothpaste
  • Using an electric toothbrush
  • Deep cleaning
  • Prescriptions

Should you suspect that you have gingivitis, book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to figure out the best treatment plan.

When your child reaches the age of one, or at least 6 months after their first tooth emerges, it’s time for them to visit the dentist for the first time. Why this early? Well, it’s to check for a couple of things: to see if you’re doing to proper cleaning care at home, and to diagnose any problems that may have already started occurring. It’s also good to get your child used to the dentist as this is something that they’ll have to continue doing for years to come. 

In the subsequent years, x-rays may be taken to see how the teeth are going to come in and if any intervention is needed, or will be needed in the future. In most cases, however, crooked teeth are not an issue and will more than likely sort themselves out as the child’s jaw grows and develops, making room for new teeth.

The one thing that is most common with children is cavities which mostly form on the molars. As the molars come in, your dentist may discuss the option of sealing the molars as this makes bacteria and germs less likely to develop.

In the event of a cavity, your dentist may recommend a filling. Some parents will frown at this suggestion as the baby teeth will eventually fall out, so why bother with a costly procedure? While it is true that baby teeth will all fall out, your child will most likely still have a few left by the age of 12 and if the cavity develops at 5 years old, it is a possibility that the affected tooth could still be in your child’s mouth for another 7 years.

Broken, chipped, or infected teeth should also be treated, even if they will fall out in the future. Your oral health has the potential to affect the rest of the body, and it is no different for your child. Taking care of their teeth ensures they stay as healthy as can be.

To schedule your child’s first appointment, visit our website at