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Dental Check-Up and Cleaning, Everything You Need to Know

Updated: Feb 18, 2022

Preventive dentistry includes regular dental check-ups and cleanings that should also be accompanied by a hygiene routine at home to maintain good oral health. If you are looking for a dentist in Morley because you want to maintain the health of your teeth or improve it this article is of interest to you.

What is Oral Health?

Oral health is the absence of any disease, infection or injury affecting the structures that make up the oral cavity: teeth, gums and other soft tissues. Among these diseases we can mention tooth decay and periodontal disease, which are the most common.

When we visit a Morley dental clinic regularly and maintain proper oral hygiene, we greatly prevent the development of these diseases, thus keeping our teeth and gums healthy, which in turn favours the performance of the functions of chewing, phonation and digestion of food.

At the dent clinic, the dentist may perform the following procedures:

  • A thorough check-up of the teeth and other structures in the mouth.

  • A dental cleaning to remove plaque and tartar deposits on the teeth.

Why is the Dental Check-Up Necessary?

We must take into account that most people do not know how to brush their teeth correctly or what is the proper brushing technique for their needs and if we add to this the non-use of dental floss we are facing bad oral hygiene.

This only favours the deposit of bacteria and the accumulation of food debris between the teeth. These bacteria feed on food debris and produce acids harmful to tooth enamel, which increases the likelihood of tooth decay, periodontal disease or bad breath.

That is why it is necessary to go to the dentist for a thorough check-up to evaluate our oral health, and thus prevent the development of any disease or detect it in time if it is already established. By detecting disease when it is just beginning we avoid its progression and the treatment will be less invasive and generally less expensive.

The patient firstly receives an overall examination around the mouth, gums, teeth and tongue at the start of a dental check up
Oral Examination during a Check Up and Clean

What does the Dental Check-Up Consist of?

At each examination the dentist will do the following:

  • If it is the first time you attend, they will ask you about your general and oral history, this data is collected and compiled in the medical history.

  • They will then carefully examine your teeth, gums, tongue, cheeks, palate, floor of the mouth looking for any lesions, changes in colour and shape, etc.

  • Depending on the condition of your teeth, they will give you indications and recommendations on the diet you should follow (e.g. limiting sugar consumption), daily hygiene habits, correct brushing technique, factors that may affect your oral health such as smoking, etc.

  • If necessary, they will recommend any treatment such as: cleanings, dental restorations, extractions, root canals, etc.

  • There is also the possibility of diagnostic procedures such as x-rays.

How Often Should we go for a Check-Up?

So for a dental check up how often should you go? It is advisable to visit the dentist once or twice a year, but it is important to mention that this depends largely on the state of health of our teeth and other factors such as predisposition to develop cavities or dental calculus. People with a higher risk of suffering dental problems may need more frequent check-ups. The rule of thumb for most is every 6 months.

The patient receives an oral examination and check up and clean as part of his 6 monthly check up at the dentist
A Patient receiving his 6 monthly check up

How Much does a Dental Check-Up Cost?

The cost of a dental check-up varies from state to state and some are more expensive than others. A determining factor as well is the patients health cover. In Perth, Western Australia approximately half of people that have health coverage have it with the health fund HBF. With this health fund it usually costs around $175 - $200, but can range from approximately $150 to $250 depending on the practice and level of private health cover. The various components of a dental check up price wise include: comprehensive oral examination, removal of calculus first visit, possible fluoride treatment and possible x-rays.

If X-rays are required, the price will vary depending on how many are needed. You can usually expect to pay approximately $40 for an X-ray. Prices will also vary depending whether you need an intraoral X ray or an OPG X ray. Please see our blog on X rays for more information regarding this here.

What is a Scale and Clean?

Even if you already know the proper brushing technique for you and know how to brush your teeth correctly, there are always areas that are difficult to clean, especially the back of the teeth and between the teeth.

In these areas plaque can accumulate more easily, but now you may be wondering what is plaque? It is a film composed of saliva, bacteria and food debris that adheres to the surface of the teeth and is responsible for conditions such as periodontal disease.

When plaque mineralizes, it forms a hard deposit known as calculus or tartar, which cannot be removed by brushing the teeth, but when the dentist performs a scale and clean procedure both plaque and tartar are removed.

Therefore, dental cleanings are a way to prevent and treat periodontal disease which is an inflammatory and chronic pathology that affects the structures that surround the tooth (gums) and support it (bone and ligaments).

When a person suffers from periodontal disease, the gums are red, soft, oedematous, swollen and may bleed when stimulated by brushing or spontaneously. After cleaning and removal of plaque and tartar, the gums gradually return to their normal appearance, the swelling and bleeding disappear, etc.

How is a Scale and Clean Performed?

As mentioned above, to prevent the installation or progression of periodontal disease, the irritants that trigger it (plaque and calculus) must be removed.

First, the dentist identifies the areas where irritants are present by using a plaque-revealing solution. This is called a disclosure solution which you can see in the video here. This, in turn, makes it possible to determine which areas are poorly hygienic in order to instruct the patient on where to reinforce brushing and how to do it.

After this, cleaning is usually performed with an ultrasonic instrument that has a fine tip that performs vibratory movements that allow dislodging the calculus, plaque and also removing stains from tobacco, coffee, carbonated drinks, wine, etc.

The calculus that is removed can be supragingival, which is visible since it is above the gum, or subgingival, which is below and not visible to the naked eye. When the cleaning is subgingival, the dentist usually applies local anaesthesia because this area is more sensitive.

In addition to ultrasound, the dentist may also choose to clean with hand instruments such as the periodontal scaler with which the crown is scraped in the interdental areas and in the junction with the gingival.

Finally, a brush or gum is used together with a paste to polish the surface of the tooth and leave it smooth.

New Technology - The Airflow Master

The latest in technology in terms of the scale and clean, comes to us from the Nation of Switzerland, with the Airflow Master. The Airflow master uses tiny particles which are only 14 microns in size, under high pressure to gently remove the build up and calculus gently for the patient. This also eliminates the need to scratch the enamel of the tooth which occurs under the traditional method of Scale and Clean. There are also added benefits for patients with crowns and implants, as the airflow can gently clean in and around these teeth without any chance or concern of damage to the implants or crowns. They also make cleaning patients teeth who have braces much easier as the use of the high pressure air and water can gently and effectively get in and between every nook and cranny. The technology is not common at this stage in the Morley, Noranda and surrounding areas. Dentista Dental Centre currently have the Airflow Master and currently use the method to treat patients who come in for a check up.

Scale and Clean Before and After

Below shows the effectiveness of the Airflow Master in action. The first picture below shows a patient who is using disclosing solution on her teeth to show where the plaque and calculus build up around the teeth are occurring. This is shown by the build up of purple around the teeth.

Patient uses disclosing solution to determine where the plaque and calculus build up in the teeth is present
Before Picture with Patient using Disclosing Solution

The Picture below shows the same patient now after the teeth have been cleaned with the Airflow master. The Airflow machine uses very fine particles under high air and water pressure to clean off the plaque and calculus off the teeth.

The patient's teeth after the Airflow Master has been used during a dental check up. The patients teeth are more thoroughly cleaned than by the traditional method
After Picture with the same Patient after treatment with the Airflow Master

If you would like to see the whole process, please see the related video here.

How long does a scale and clean take?

It is a relatively short treatment that can last between 30 and 45 minutes, so usually in less than an hour the patient is ready.

How Often Should the Cleaning be Performed?

Dentists recommend that cleaning should be performed every 6 to 12 months, but as with the frequency of check-ups, this will also depend on the patient's oral and general health, oral hygiene, habits, diet, etc.

The important thing is that this procedure is seen mainly as a preventive treatment and not a curative one. Prevention is always better than cure, so we should not wait until we have periodontal disease in an early stage (gingivitis) or advanced (periodontitis) to go to the dentist for a cleaning.

How Much Does a Scale and Clean Cost?

How much is a scale and clean? The cost of scale and clean can vary from state to state and some are more expensive than others. At a Dental Clinic Perth, Western Australia it usually costs about $155 - $180 depending on any private rebates, but can range from about $155 to $255. In the area Surrounding Noranda, Morley, Beechboro and Malaga, a dental check up and cleaning cost is $155 for the basic scale and clean with HBF (you will have a small out of pocket expense depending on your level of cover) or $185 without - also depending if you have private health insurance.

We must keep in mind that everything that happens in the oral cavity affects the health of the body, so by taking care of our mouth we are also taking care of the health of our whole organism. So how much is a dental checkup worth?

On the other hand, there are some diseases such as diabetes and lupus that can manifest themselves first in the oral cavity, so there is a possibility that they can be detected in early stages by going to the dentist, and like any disease either oral or general when it is in an early stage its probability of treatment and recovery is higher.

If you think you may have a dental disease or simply want to have a revision for preventive purposes do not wait any longer and schedule your appointment with a dentist in Morley WA. Although the dental checkup and cleaning cost may seem expensive if it is around $155 - $200 it is certainly an investment worth making because there is nothing more important than our health.

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