Dental Exams & Cleanings

Dental Exam

A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by Dr Neil McLeod your  West Hollywood dentist at your initial dental visit.  At regular check-up exams, your dentist and hygienist will include the following:

  • Examination of diagnostic digital x-rays (radiographs): Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss.  X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
  • Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
  • Gum disease evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
  • Examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
  • Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.

Professional Teeth Cleaning

Professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis) are usually performed by Registered Dental Hygienists.  Your cleaning appointment will include a dental exam and the following:

  • Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface.  Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
  • Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth.  It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva.  The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums.  This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease!
  • Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.

You can have a beautiful smile and keep your teeth bright and white and healthy.  Give yourself a “Biting Chance at Life”.  All it takes is a few minutes every day, and a couple of visits a year to Dr. Neil McLeod’s West Hollywood dental practice.  Prevention is the name of the game. You should brush your teeth regularly, and floss properly every evening before going to bed, and don’t forget to get your teeth professionally cleaned at the dentist’s at least every six months. A regular Dental Cleaning, that’s the American way, and has been years.

So, why is it important to visit your dentist for regular periodic cleanings?  There are many reasons. One is that you make it easier for your dentist to make sure your teeth are healthy.  Another is that cavities can be identified and repaired in a timely manner.  Thirdly, regular cleanings remove tarter and stain that mars the brightness of your smile and causes plaque collect and break down your dental health causing tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath.  Gum disease causes the loss of the bone supporting your teeth, the teeth then become loose and may no longer be able to support the pressure of the bite.  Cavities left untreated can lead to nerve damage and abscesses. Both of these conditions can result in teeth being lost, or requiring costly additional treatment like root canal therapy, reinforcing posts and crowns.

If you have crowns or veneers or implants, or bridges and partial dentures your need for routine cleanings may be increased.  They may need special additional care.  The reason for that dental work being in your mouth in the first place must be addressed.  Extra vigilance is often needed to prevent further damage and loss.  That is the last thing you want.

If you brush and floss daily, it will make cleaning your teeth easier.  You have long been told that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.  This was never more true than where dental care and the health of your teeth is concerned.