Dental Exams and Cleanings

Teeth Cleaning & Dental Exams in Colorado Springs

Nearly half of all parents believe that children should have their first teeth exams when they are two to three years old. Professional associations, such as the American Dental Association, recommend that a child’s first dentist visit occur no later than the first birthday. Starting dental exams as the baby teeth first start coming in helps prevent serious problems such as childhood caries.

However, it is not only children who should have regular teeth exams. Dental problems can develop later in life, so adults should also visit a family dentist for exams and cleanings. It is important to receive dental exams and cleanings every six months to maintain a healthy beautiful smile.

What are Dental Exams & Cleanings?

Dental cleanings and teeth exams often happen at the same visit, but they are two different procedures. A dental exam is part of your preventative care regimen and can help to find intraoral problems as well as provide information when creating a customized treatment plan. Your dental cleaning is necessary for removing hardened calculus and tartar from your teeth. During the cleaning, your gum pockets will be measured for signs of gingivitis and gum disease. Dr. Buccellato will perform an oral cancer screening at each of your dental exams.

Why might you need Dental Exams & Cleanings?

Children, teens, adults and seniors alike should always have a dental exam and cleaning done every six months. Your bi-annual preventative care appointment is crucial in keeping your teeth healthy and free of major complications. What’s more, your checkup visits are essential in catching problems early on when treatment is easier and more affordable. For kids, it’s important to bring them into the office as soon as you notice their very first baby teeth coming in.

What makes you a viable candidate for Dental Exams & Cleanings?

Everyone who wants to take care of their teeth should come into our office for an exam and cleaning. Keeping to a regular schedule of dental exams and cleanings from childhood through adulthood helps to prevent serious oral health issues. However, if you have not had a dental exam and cleaning for a while, there is absolutely no shame in coming in for an initial patient exam, so if it’s been awhile since your last appointment, we are more than happy to help you regain control of your dental health. Resuming teeth exams allows us to evaluate your condition, diagnose any dental issues that may be present, and formulate a treatment plan. In some cases, a deeper cleaning (known as a scaling and root planing) is required for patients who have periodontal disease. Otherwise, a regular cleaning is sufficient to remove hardened plaque and debris from the teeth. People of all ages can benefit from dental exams, from senior citizens to infants and toddlers. Even if you no longer have teeth, a dentist can still offer restoration options such as implants or dentures and check these periodically to ensure they are still functional and in good condition.

What can you expect during your Dental Exams & Cleanings?

You will come into the Alpine Dentistry office and be seated by the hygienist. The hygienist will take your dental x-rays and begin the process of cleaning your teeth. They will use a series of machinery and tools to remove hardened plaque, calculus and tartar from the teeth as well as staining. Your gum pockets will be measured to check for signs of inflammation and gum disease. Once the cleaning is complete, Dr. Buccellato will come in and begin your exam. The exam helps Dr. Buccellato to find signs of decay, loose restorations and other intraoral problems. An oral cancer screening is done at each of your exams.

You may require a more extensive cleaning technique if it has been a while since your last dental cleaning in Colorado Springs. The root scaling and planing procedure involves cleaning below the gum line to remove plaque and treat periodontal disease.

In addition to diagnostic teeth X-rays, other aspects of a dental exam include:

  • Examining for tooth decay
  • Screening for gum disease
  • Examining existing restorations (e.g., fillings, crowns) if applicable
  • Screening for oral cancer

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment for an exam and cleaning, our helpful representatives are here to take your call and get you in for a visit.

A Child’s First Dental Visit

Experts recommend that a child should have his or her first dentist visit within six months of the first tooth’s eruption. Since this typically happens around the four-to-six-month mark, it follows that your child should have an initial dentist visit during his or her first year of life. It is perfectly acceptable to take a child to see the dentist before his or her teeth start erupting to receive information on issues that you need to know about as the teeth start coming in:

  • Baby bottle tooth decay
  • Finger-sucking habits
  • Infant feeding practices
  • Mouth cleaning
  • Pacifier habits
  • Teething


You know your child better than anyone and have an idea of how he or she is likely to react in stressful situations. This is something you should discuss with the dentist beforehand. It may be possible for the dentist to make accommodations for the child to be comfortable as possible during the appointment. For example, if the child experiences separation anxiety, he or she may be able to have the examination while sitting on your lap.

If you have concerns or questions regarding your child’s dental care, you should be prepared to discuss these with the dentist. It is important that you approach the appointment calmly as your child may pick up on your anxiety. Your attitude could influence how your child approaches the dentist for the rest of his or her life, so you should try to be as positive as possible. If your child is old enough to understand, you should explain exactly what to expect from the visit.

What To Expect at Your Child’s Dental Appointments

We typically do not perform X-rays on our youngest patients unless there is reason to suspect decay. We may do some gentle cleaning at the first visit if needed. However, the initial appointment is more about advising you about home cleaning and fluoride use, as well as helping your child feel comfortable in our office. This takes about 30 to 45 minutes.

We may recommend visits every three months if there is a development problem or to encourage confidence. Otherwise, children typically have dental appointments every six months, just as adults do.

Ongoing Child Dental Care

Most of your child’s dental care takes place at home with daily oral hygiene. When your child is old enough to spit out toothpaste, around age three, he or she can use a pea-sized dab of fluoridated toothpaste for brushing. Before that, use a dab the size of a grain of rice to clean your child’s teeth with a soft-bristle brush.

Your child will probably need help with brushing until he or she is around seven or eight. Brush your teeth with your child so you can model the proper technique. Having your child follow your pattern helps to keep him or her from missing anything.

You should also limit your child’s access to foods that promote tooth decay. This includes all manner of sweetened foods and drinks as well as hard or sticky candies. Limit the time your child has a bottle, and don’t give a bottle of anything but water before your child goes to sleep.

Colorado Springs Adult and Children Dental Exams

It is never too early to start having teeth exams in our Colorado Springs office, nor is it ever too late. Contact us today to make an appointment for either you or your child!

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