Services > Exams and Cleanings
Dental Cleanings, Exams, and Checkups in North Andover
Has it been a while since you had a cleaning? Is there a tooth that has been sensitive every time you eat? Do your gums bleed every time you brush and floss? Does your breath smell even after brushing? These are the signs that indicate that there may be underlying problems in your mouth or even in your body. Numerous studies have shown the correlation between the overall health of your body and the oral health. Only a thorough exam with X-rays by the dentist can provide accurate and timely diagnosis that helps with tooth pain and even can be life saving. For every new and routine exam, Dr. Lee performs a thorough oral cancer screening to find any cancer or precancerous signs inside and outside of the mouth. Oral cancer screening is critical in that early detection of cancer or pre-cancer allows timely treatment, which prevents the cancer from spreading to other parts of the body.
How much do dental cleanings and routine exams cost?
If you have a dental insurance that our office is in network with, your insurance will cover the cost every six months most likely. Depending on the insurance, the patient may have to pay a copay to share the cost of dental cleanings and exams with your insurance. It is recommended that you check with your insurance for coverage and benefits, including cleanings and exams.
If you have no dental insurance, no worries. We frequently have our $99 specials for new patients to provide dental cleanings, exams, and X-rays. Additionally, we also offer in-house membership plans for no-insurance patients, and our in-house members receive dental cleanings and exams at no-charge. Please check the details on our in-house dental membership plan.
What do you use for cleaning?
We start your cleaning with piezo ultrasonic (piezoelectric) scaler to effectively and gently remove calculus and stain. Energy of piezo ultrasonic scaler comes from crystals that are activated by the ceramic handpiece. Therefore, unlike magnetorestrictive scalers, piezoelectric scalers are safe for anyone with pacemakers. The fine tips of piezo ultrasonic scaler allow removal of tartar under the gumline. The water from the piezo also helps flush away the dislodged tartar. After piezo ultrasonic scaler, we use the hand instruments to “fine tune” and clean any remaining debris. Because there is less “scraping” involved, your teeth are less sensitive and your cleaning visit is much more pleasant and comfortable.
How often do I need to get my teeth cleaned and checked?
The frequency of your dental cleaning depends on your current state of oral health as well as any medical conditions that may put you at a higher risk of developing caries or periodontal disease. These risk factors include, but not limited to: smoking, diabetes, dry mouth causing medications and diet with high sugar/acid level. With great oral hygiene and no predisposing conditions, cleaning every 6 months is usually sufficient. However, if you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease or carry higher risks of dental caries, cleanings every 3 or 4 months may be indicated.
Does teeth cleaning hurt?
Most of the patients do not find dental cleanings painful. However, if you have generally sensitive teeth, gum recession or periodontal disease, we offer local anesthetics and injection-free numbing gel depending on your level of comfort.
Nothing bothers me in my mouth without regular cleanings. Is the tooth cleaning really necessary?
Yes! Professional dental cleaning allows the dentist to catch any issues with teeth and gums early before they become problematic. Also, those stubborn tartar above or below the gumline can only be cleaned with professional dental cleaning.
Can dental cleanings damage teeth? Will my teeth become loose with cleaning?
These are very common questions that we receive from our patients. One of the most common misconceptions regarding dental cleanings is that teeth will break or loosen after cleanings. Teeth with periodontal disease lack bone around them. Without proper support from the bone, the teeth will become loose. When enough tartar builds up around these teeth, the teeth will appear bigger (with less space between teeth) and more solid than they actually are. Cleaning removes tartar so that the inflamed gums have a chance to heal.
Are dental X-rays harmful to the body?
The simple answer is no! Our office follows ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) principle to obtain x-rays only when clinically necessary. X-rays are important diagnostic tool that is essential in making proper diagnosis. Digital X-rays have significantly lower radiation compared to the amount of radiation that you would receive from natural sources such as soil and radon (0.005 mSv vs. 3.1 mSv). According to The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP), the mean effective radiation dose from all sources is 6.2 mSv per year in the U.S. About half of this dose comes from natural sources, and the other half from man-made sources such as medical X-rays. Each set of full mouth X-rays (18 individual x-rays) is 0.09 mSv which means you would have to get over 600 X-rays to come even close to the annual mean dose!