In general, dentistry is intended to be a preventive practice. To maintain good oral and dental health, you will need to abide by a regular schedule of dental exams. This allows our dentist to check for and treat any dental health issues that have arisen. It also allows us to perform oral cancer screenings during your dental exam.
When getting a dental exam for the first time, you will need to answer a number of questions. You may also need to provide our office with a list of any chronic medical conditions you are receiving treatment for, as well as a list of current medications that you are taking. A brief exam will determine if you have any obvious dental issues. Your teeth will be professional cleaned, and you will have a set of dental x-rays taken that will be used as a baseline for identifying any future dental issues.
Dental X-rays Are Key To A Dental Exam
Dental x-rays help the dentist to see areas of tooth decay or damage to the teeth that would not otherwise be easily visible. This includes tooth abscesses that have formed near the tooth root, decay or build up between teeth. X-rays can also see damage to any old fillings or other dental restorations that you may have received.
Dental Exam Procedures
In most cases, a dental exam will not be painful, and there is no reason to be nervous. Our dentist will carefully check your teeth and gums for any sign of damage or tooth decay, as well as periodontal disease or gum recession. Our dentist will carefully check to ensure your jaw has proper alignment. You should not experience any problems with your bite.
The dental exam also gives our dentist the opportunity to perform an oral cancer screening. Nearly 40,000 Americans get diagnosed with oral cancer each year. As with other cancers, early detection and treatment is key to achieving a positive outcome. The dentist will carefully check your gums, tongue, cheeks, and palate for any lesions or other signs of oral cancer.
What if something is wrong?
A treatment plan is needed if any dental issues are diagnosed such as cavities or signs or gum disease. In some cases, you may be advised to alter your brushing or flossing technique. If you experience chronic tooth sensitivity, the dentist may recommend a particular toothbrush or toothpaste that can help with these issues.
What if I’m nervous?
It is normal to experience a little anxiety when getting a dental exam, but there is no need to be afraid or nervous. Like other medical practitioners, the dentist is there to help you and to ensure your best health. It is our goal to ensure that all of our patients are as comfortable as possible during each visit. It is vital to maintaining good dental and overall health that you do not allow your nervousness to prevent you from visiting our office. Studies have shown that poor dental health can lead to an increased risk for health issues such as heart attack and stroke.
How often should I visit my dentist?
For most patients, the American Dental Association recommends maintaining a bi-annual schedule of visits to our office in order to maintain your best oral health. Even if you have excellent dental hygiene it is important to come in for regular cleanings. Check-ups can prevent any issues from developing in the first place. If your dental health is particularly good, our dentist may recommend that you visit us only once a year.
In some cases, you dental checkups can occur more often. This usually occurs if you’ve had a dental restoration or have specific risk factors. This includes:
- Diagnosed with gum disease
- Weak immune response to bacterial infection
- Patients with dry mouth, or who are prone to frequent cavities or plaque buildup
- Chronic stress or illness
It is likely that the frequency of your required visits to our office will shift over time. Contact our office today to schedule a visit, and be sure to follow the directions given by our dentist when it comes to scheduling your regular cleanings and check-ups.