To keep your teeth and gums healthy, you should have regular dental checkups. Your dentist will recommend how often you should have your teeth checked based on your risk of developing dental problems. This can range from 3–24 months. During a checkup, your dentist will examine your teeth for signs of decay and your gums for evidence of gum disease. If you have not been to the dentist for some time, you may have X-rays to look for evidence of decay between the back teeth and under existing fillings. Your dentist may also clean and polish your teeth and will advise you on good oral hygiene.
Your teeth and gums will be examined for signs of disease while you lie in a dental chair under a bright light. Your dentist will also check that all the teeth are present and aligned correctly and that teeth still emerging are not likely to become impacted.
A bite-wing X-ray is used to look for decay. The X-ray film is put in a holder, which is held between the teeth while the X-ray machine is placed near your cheek. An X-ray may be taken on both sides of the face.
From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.