Dental Exam and Cleaning In Atlanta, GA
Many people know they should get a regular dental exam and cleaning. But sometimes patients are not completely clear on what this entails, and why it’s important. At Peach Valley Dental, we strive to provide the best possible care. This includes educating our patients on the “why’s” and “how’s” of preventative dental care.
Preventative dental care is a critical component of your overall oral health. Good oral health can help prevent systemic health conditions that can be triggered by bad oral bacteria. We work hard to keep your teeth and gums looking and feeling great through routine exams and cleanings.
What is a Comprehensive Dental Exam?
When we talk about a “comprehensive dental exam” we are referring to one of two scenarios. First, we will complete a comprehensive exam if this is your first visit to our office. A comprehensive exam includes reviewing the medical history you provided to us, checking for signs of periodontal concerns, and charting specific problem areas. We screen for signs of oral cancer, assess your overall oral health, and discuss our findings with you.
The second scenario is if you have had any significant changes to your oral health. If you suffered a trauma, or perhaps have been diagnosed with a major health condition like cancer, this could have detrimental impacts to your oral health, and we would want to do a comprehensive exam to note any major changes.
Outside of these two scenarios, we would be completing a periodic exam, during which we would refer to our notes from your last comprehensive exam and spot-checking those previous problem areas. We will note improvements and discuss any additional concerns with you.
How Often Should You Get Dental Cleanings and Exams?
The American Dental Association's recommendations for cleanings and exams are that patients “work closely with their dentists to identify any potential risk factors that would determine the need for and frequency of follow up visits” to maintain proper oral health. Since patients’ situations vary, there is no official “rule” to say how often you should come in. For most patients, we recommend visits twice per year. For patients with periodontal concerns, we will recommend cleanings every three to four months instead.
What to Expect at a Dental Check-Up Appointment?
If it’s been a while since your last appointment, don’t worry. We are here to make you feel comfortable throughout the visit. When you come in, you will be greeted by our front desk team. They will have you complete any needed paperwork. When it’s time for your appointment, we will take any needed x-rays first. Our dental hygienist will complete your cleaning and note any areas of concern, as well as chart any periodontal risk factors. Once Dr. Dennis is ready to complete your exam, she and our hygienist will talk more with you about any concerns you have and any areas they see. Dr. Dennis will review your x-rays as well, and if you do have other dental needs, she will discuss these with you.
Does a Dental Exam Include Cleaning?
A dental exam and a cleaning are two separate functions, but they go together as part of your preventative dental care. Both are important to your overall oral health. For healthy patients, exams and cleanings are going to happen together at each preventative care appointment. We may do a cleaning on its own if we have recommended more than two cleanings per year.
How Much Does a Dental Exam and Cleaning Cost?
Specific costs vary depending on whether you have dental insurance, and at what percentage your policy covers preventative care. Most of the time, dental insurance will cover 100% of your preventative care appointment. Or depending on your policy, they may only cover 80%. Or they may assess a deductible on preventative care, for example. Dental insurance coverage is determined at the employer level, so even if you and your neighbor have the same insurance company, your coverage percentages can vary if you work for different companies. Large companies may also have several tiers for employees to choose from. When we verify your coverage, we will find out what your policy covers.
If you do not have dental insurance, you would be considered "cash pay" or "self-pay." Our cash prices are comparable to other offices in our area. If you have specific questions about cash fees, call us so we can give you guidance on an individual basis.
What is Included in a Dental Cleaning?
The dental cleaning portion of your preventative care appointment includes removing any buildup of tartar and plaque. Once we remove the buildup, we can use our instruments to remove any surface staining. Finally, we polish your teeth so you leave our office with your best smile.
Additionally, if we find periodontal concerns during your exam, we may hold off on your cleaning at this appointment. Periodontal disease is a serious dental matter, and a standard cleaning will not sufficiently remove the bacteria. If you fall into this category, we will schedule a separate appointment for a more in-depth cleaning and bacteria removal. The American Academy of Periodontology estimates that around half of all American adults have some amount of periodontal concern, which could range from minor isolated pockets to widespread systemic concerns. Our goal is to get you healthy; we want to work together to develop an action plan to correct these areas.
Making the Most of Your Appointment
The Peach Valley Dental team is committed to serving our patients’ needs in a friendly, comfortable environment. We encourage new patients to spend time on our website. Explore our services and read more about our philosophy on how best to provide great dental care. If you are feeling a little nervous before your dental exam and cleaning in Atlanta, feel free to call us at 404-254-5196 beforehand to ask any questions you may have. We look forward to building trust and making you feel at ease so you can maintain great oral health and a lifetime of confident smiles.