Checkups and Cleanings

Keeping Your Teeth Clean, Healthy, and Beautiful

Seeing your West Des Moines dentist every six months is critical to staying on top of your oral health. The American Dental Association recommends checkups on such a frequent basis so that your dentist can catch problems in early stages of development, as well as help prevent oral health problems with professional cleanings. Dr. Hawks and his excellent staff, which includes two dental hygienists for efficient and thorough cleanings, will do everything in their power to help preserve the health and integrity of your teeth for life.

The Value of Early Detection with Checkups

Many patients aren’t aware of everything that goes on during a dental checkup. We may perform digital X-rays of your mouth if you haven’t had any performed recently. Dr. Hawks will also look at your teeth, probing them gently to check for weak spots. He will also probe the spaces where your gums attach to your teeth to determine if you have early signs of periodontal disease.

An important component of this examination is checking your teeth for signs of abnormal wear or breakage, and checking your jaw joints (TMJs) to determine if you are suffering from bruxism or TMJ disorder. To view hard-to-reach areas, he may use an intraoral camera, which illuminates and magnifies certain areas as well as captures images to be saved in your electronic chart. Both digital X-rays and intraoral camera images are viewable on chairside monitors so that Dr. Hawks can explain dental issues with a visual aid for better patient education.

Another vitally-important component of your dental checkup is an oral cancer screening. Because oral cancer claims the lives of 8,000 people in the US every year, Dr. Hawks is passionate about early detection of this deadly disease. Your West Des Moines dentist will meticulously screen your lips, tongue, cheeks, gums and throat for abnormalities that may indicate cancer or a precancerous condition. If abnormalities are found, he will refer you to an appropriate specialist for diagnosis and treatment.

Cleaning Your Teeth the Professional Way

You’re probably already familiar with the clean, fresh feeling a professional dental cleaning provides, but did you know there are therapeutic benefits as well? Teeth that are rough due to accumulated plaque and tartar are more likely to attract the bacteria that cause gum disease and cavities. Polishing all tooth surfaces prevents bacteria from sticking to them, which helps your teeth and gums remain healthy. Our highly-skilled dental hygienists employ ultrasonic scaling tools, which remove hard calculus from the teeth with vibration.

If you already have gum disease, ultrasonic scaling can be used on the tooth surfaces below the gum line to ensure smooth tooth roots and clean periodontal pockets so that infected gum tissues can heal and reattach to the teeth. A professional cleaning every six months will give you a healthy foundation so that your at-home oral health care regimen is made much easier.

Schedule Your Next Checkup and Cleaning

The best way to keep your smile healthy and free of disease is to maintain a regular schedule of checkups and cleanings. To schedule your next appointment, call our dental office in West Des Moines, IA, at (515) 225-6665. Since 1985, Dr. Hawks has proudly served the residents of West Des Moines, as well as Urbandale, Johnston, Waukee, Grimes, and all surrounding communities since 1985.