A Root Canal

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Dental Checkups

When you go in for your annual or biannual dental checkup, you may just expect to have your teeth cleaned and polished. However, you may be able to have more services performed at your checkup, along with the dental cleaning. People rarely take advantage of their dental plan's preventative care benefits, so be sure you ask about the following services.

Oral Cancer Screenings

Oral cancer can often spread to other parts of the body because many of its symptoms are unnoticeable until later stages. However, oral cancer screenings are painless, and they could save your life if you catch cancer in its early stages. During oral cancer screenings, your dentist will look at your throat, gums, tongue, and lips for any discolorations, lumps, infections, etc. These screenings only take a few minutes, so be sure to have one done before your dental cleaning.


Sealants are plastic resins that your dentist can paint onto your teeth to further protect them from cavities. While sealants are mainly used to prevent cavities in young children, they can also be used for adults. If you tend to grind your teeth or enjoy sugary/acidic foods, like soda, then your teeth could probably use some extra protection. Ask your dentist about this preventative care benefit. Since the procedure is easy and only takes about fifteen minutes, you could possibly have it done after your cleaning.


You may have taken some x-rays early on when you first went to your dentist, but it's important to have x-rays taken at your checkups if you can. Not only will x-rays help your dentist spot cavities, but they can be used in conjunction with oral screenings to look for tumors and infections. If you have a condition like diabetes, you may be at risk for gingivitis and gum disease. If a dentist takes an x-ray, he or she can see horizontal bone loss, an early sign of gum disease.

Gum Pocket Measurements

Like many of the previous procedures, measuring gum pockets doesn't take long at all. The dentist or hygienist will slip a thin instrument between your gums and teeth to measure your gum pockets. If you have gum pocket that is more than 3 millimeters, then you and your dentist can discuss prevention methods and treatments for gingivitis and gum disease.

As you can see, you could get one or all of these services quickly done at your checkup. Make sure your dental cleanings aren't going to waste: check your dental plan's preventative benefits! If you need a new dentist, talk to groups like Family Dentistry Of Woodstock.