What To Expect From Your Checkup And Cleaning

If we asked you how much time has passed since your last checkup and cleaning, what would you say? A year? Two years or more? Often, people assume that checkups and cleanings are very minor and not necessary for a person’s health. Unfortunately, this allows oral health issues to develop and threaten a smile’s stability and appearance. In today’s blog, we’re explaining why our Des Moines, IA, patients need checkups and cleanings, and what to expect from these visits.

The Checkup

The exam portion involves our team carefully looking at your teeth, gums, jaw joints, and other oral tissues for signs of trouble. Using digital imaging, we can obtain a detailed picture of your smile in a matter of seconds. When we identify possible problem areas, we will let you know and discuss possible solutions to prevent serious problems from developing. Issues we look for during your exam include tooth decay, gingivitis, and gum disease. We also look for the signs of wear and friction that could indicate TMJ disorder and bruxism (chronic teeth grinding). Finally, we always look for signs of possible cancerous or precancerous areas, performing a detailed oral cancer screening.

The Cleaning

As part of your visit, we will also clean your teeth. The treatment removes all plaque and tartar from your teeth, something brushing and flossing daily cannot do. Our dentist or hygienist will perform the procedure, using a manual tool or an ultrasonic scaler to break up and remove the plaque and tartar. We then polish the tooth. Patients leave with fresher breath, brighter teeth, and a smooth finish on the teeth. The procedure reduces the risk of tooth decay, dental infections, gingivitis, and gum disease, helping you enjoy a healthier smile.

How Often Should I See the Dentist?

That depends on a number of different factors. On average, people should see us about once every six months, starting at around age three. Seeing us twice a year enables us to monitor your smile and help prevent trouble. Cavities, for example, take several months to form. However, if you have high risk factors for gum disease and other serious oral health concerns, then we may suggest a visit every three to four months instead. To learn more or to schedule a visit for you and your family, then please contact our team today. Checkups and cleanings may seem minor, but they are essential for maintaining optimal oral health!


With routine preventive care, we want to help you enjoy healthy smiles for years to come. Our practice is ready to help families in and around Des Moines, IA enjoy healthier smiles with preventive dentistry. To schedule an appointment, call our office today at (515) 244-9565.