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What To Expect From Preventative Dental Care

Pretty Young Lady Smiling – Arlington Heights, IL – Dan Czapek, DMD

Regular checkups and preventative care provides the best way to ensure you maintain a healthy smile. Although twice yearly exams and cleanings are often recommended, it’s important to talk to your dentist to determine the best frequency for your specific dental hygiene needs. They will help you develop a preventative care plan utilizing the following procedures as necessary. 


A checkup is required at nearly every preventative care appointment. This part of the appointment provides your dentist with an overview of your general dental health and treatment needs. It will include at least some of the following, depending on your individual needs.

Oral Evaluation

Generally, every checkup includes a thorough oral evaluation. This is primarily a visual exam where your dentist will check over every tooth thoroughly for signs of decay and plaque buildup. They may also perform a periodontal exam if you show signs of gum inflammation or disease. This part of the exam checks the health of the gums.

X-Ray Service

X-rays aren’t typically recommended for every dental checkup, so your dentist will let you know when they are required. The purpose of the x-rays can vary. In younger adults, they may be used to determine the location of wisdom teeth and whether they need removal. X-rays are also commonly used to check the health of the roots of your teeth and jaw bone so problems can be caught early, when they can still be easily fixed or prevented.

Cancer Screening

How often and what type of cancer screening is needed depends on personal factors and risks. Those who use tobacco, drink heavily, or have a family history of oral cancer may benefit from more frequent screenings than those without these risk factors. Your dentist may do a simple visual screening of your lips, cheeks, gums, and tongue, or they may use a special dye or light to look for possible cancer cells. 


Although your preventative care appointments are focused on exams and finding problems early, they should also include services designed to prevent problems from occurring as well. Not every maintenance treatment is needed for every individual at each regular appointment, so work with your dentist to develop a personalized treatment plan. 

Dental Cleaning

Following the basic oral exam, dental cleaning is commonly performed at a preventative maintenance appointment. Numbing and anesthesia isn’t typically needed for a general cleaning, but they may be used if you need a deeper periodontal cleaning due to gum disease. Your hygienist will use a variety of descaling tools to scrape away plaque buildup on the tooth surfaces. They will then polish and buff your teeth so that your smile shines. 

Fluoride Varnish

A fluoride varnish application is often reserved for children, but there are some cases where adults can benefit. If you are constantly battling tooth decay and cavities, or have thin enamel and sensitive teeth, then a fluoride application may be beneficial as it can help strengthen your teeth. The varnish is painted onto your teeth at your regular checkup. It may cause temporary discoloration, but within a day or two your smile will be back to normal and your teeth will be better protected.

Sealant Application

A dental sealant is applied to the back molars, where it helps prevent cavities on the teeth that often work the hardest. At one time, sealants were reserved for children and teens, but young adults in their 20s and early 30s can also benefit from the application of sealants—particularly those that are prone to cavities and tooth decay. Like other treatments, sealants may not be needed at every appointment, so look to your dentist for guidance.

Contact Dan Czapek, D.M.D. to schedule a preventative dental care appointment today.

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