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What does a complete dental exam include?

What does a complete dental exam include-min

To determine if dental exams are necessary, it is important to know what they are, and what they entail. Dental exams can be referred to as dental checkups, comprehensive oral exams or complete oral exams. While these terms sound quite similar, there is a difference between a dental checkup and a complete oral exam.

Dental Checkup

A dental checkup lasts a few minutes and focuses on comparing data from previous exams to look for changes. Dental checkups monitor your oral health routinely to look for small changes in oral health. Many times, small dental issues can be treated before they progress to complex dental issues. Often, by the time dental issues become serious, they are also accompanied with pain.

All dental professionals recommended having routine dental checkups at least once or twice a year. Depending on your oral health or past dental history, your dentist may recommend seeing you more frequently. Patients with a high risk of developing dental decay or patients with diabetes are examples of patients who may require more frequent dental checkups.

When to Get a Checkup

For most adults, it is recommended they get a dental checkup and cleaning every six months. However, depending on your individual needs and personal dental history, your dentist may recommend more frequent visits.

Keeping Your Exams Saves Your Money in the Long Run

If you don’t keep up with your oral health cleanings and exams, costly dental problems might occur.

Maintaining good oral health is also an important part of keeping your whole body healthy. While daily brushing and flossing is essential for a healthy mouth, regular check-ups and cleanings are also very important. Good oral health is also linked to good overall health.

5 Reasons to Schedule Dental Exams

Reasons to Schedule Dental Exams-min

Detect Cavities Earlier

Don’t wait until you’re in unbearable pain before seeing the dentist. Your next teeth cleaning appointment is the perfect opportunity for your dentist to detect cavities in their early stages. If left untreated, cavities can cause health complications like abscesses or even dangerous infections in your bloodstream. It is recommended to see your dentist at least every six months so that he/she can help you maintain good oral health.

Save Money / Preventive Dentistry

The idea of preventative dentistry is to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues from happening in the first place. The sooner you are able to detect cavities, the sooner your dentist is able to start treatment to save your tooth. Preventive dentistry costs less because less work has to be done to repair teeth.

It is recommended that people visit the dentist at least twice a year. However, your dentist may recommend you visit more often if you have teeth or gum issues that need monitoring. Contact your dentist today in order to give your mouth the attention it deserves.

Remove Dental Plaque & Tartar

While brushing and flossing your teeth every day removes much of the dental plaque that builds up on your teeth, you’ll still need to have your teeth professionally cleaned every six months. A dental hygienist will be able to remove plaque and tartar hidden between teeth or along the gum line. If plaque has hardened into tartar, only a dental professional will be able to remove it from your smile using special tools.

Prevent Gum Disease

Not getting your teeth cleaned puts you at risk for gum disease, such as gingivitis or the more serious periodontitis. If left untreated, gum disease can cause bleeding irritated gums. It’s important to have gingivitis treated by a dentist as soon as possible to prevent advanced gum disease. Periodontitis is irreversible and your dentist will only be able to slow its damaging effects on your gums and teeth through scaling and root planning.

Promote Overall Good Health

Did you know that your family dentist can detect the early signs of diabetes, heart disease, and other health conditions? The health of your mouth is connected to your overall health. For example, people with diabetes are more likely to have cavities and gum disease due to high blood sugar. During your routine dental exam, your dentist should also check for oral cancer.

What is a comprehensive dental exam?

What is a comprehensive dental exam-min

A comprehensive dental exam is an essential component of preventive dentistry which is the practice of preventing oral disease and caring for your teeth to keep them healthy.

A complete oral exam is also referred to as a comprehensive oral exam or dental exam. This type of exam can last up to half an hour in some cases. A complete oral exam involves taking a detailed snapshot of your dental health in many areas. These types of exams are done every three to five years.

Most dentists begin by taking photos of the exterior and interior of the mouth. These photos show the color of the gum tissue, other soft tissues in the mouth, and the condition of the teeth. Your dentist will also check your mouth to look for any irregularities, and to screen for oral cancer and other dental conditions.

Each tooth and the surrounding gum tissue is also scrutinized. The condition of the tooth, rotation, and positioning of the tooth is charted. The amount of supporting bone around the tooth is checked to see if it is within normal limits or if it is lacking. Deep areas in the gum tissue, especially those that bleed are also noted.

Dental x-rays are used in a complete oral exam to see the bone levels for each tooth and to monitor the development of teeth in young children and teenagers. Areas of infection or dental decay are also easily seen with the use of x-rays.

What is included in the oral exam?

Digital X-Rays

Digital X-Rays-min

Using the most advanced dental technology possible is just as important as staying up-to-date on the latest treatment techniques. Because this practice is dedicated to providing you with the safest and most convenient treatment options available, your dentist utilizes advanced digital X-ray technology in the office.

Digital X-rays provide several advanced imaging options designed to save time, provide clearer dental photos, and expose patients to less radiation than with traditional X-ray technology.

Periodontal Exam

During the periodontal exam, your dentist will examine the condition of your gum and determine if any disease is present. The early stages of gum disease (periodontal disease) are reversible, so identifying any problems early on will help him/her offer you treatment options aimed at maintaining your gum health. If left untreated, periodontal disease may result in tooth loss, along with a host of other oral and health conditions. Early treatment will save you many complex procedures down the road, along with the expenses associated with them.

Tooth By Tooth Exam

The tooth by tooth examination is an essential component of your comprehensive dental exam. Your dentist will examine each one of your teeth for chips or cracks that may potentially cause pain. He/she will check existing fillings or restorations, and will analyze the condition of your tooth enamel and determine whether your teeth are at risk of developing cavities. This exam will help him/her identify any need for preventive or restorative treatments to keep your teeth strong and healthy.

Aesthetic Evaluation

Your dentist will evaluate your smile and will consider any cosmetic dentistry services you may need including restoring missing teeth, teeth whitening, correcting crooked or misaligned teeth, and more. You don’t need to settle for anything less than a perfect, white smile!

Bite Analysis

Bite Analysis-min

The dentist will perform a bite analysis to determine the health of your occlusion (bite). A bad bite may result in conditions such as loose teeth, excessive tooth wear, or a painful condition known as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Correcting your occlusion will help treat these conditions and alleviate any symptoms associated with them, along with lowering your risk of developing potential problems.

Oral Cancer Screening

Oral Cancer Screening-min

Your dentist take a holistic approach to your dental care, which includes an oral cancer screening as a part of your regular exam. Like many kinds of cancer, oral cancer can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated early.

He/she has the skills and tools to ensure that early signs and symptoms of oral cancer and pre-cancerous conditions are identified. While these symptoms may be caused by other, less serious problems, it is very important to visit your dentist's office to rule out the possibility of oral cancer. The most common symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • Red or white spots or sores anywhere in the oral cavity
  • A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal
  • A lump, thickening, or rough spot
  • Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue

Quick screening involves an examination of your oral cavity as a whole, and not just your teeth, to detect cancerous and precancerous conditions. Besides a visual examination of your mouth, he/she will also feel the tissue of your mouth and throat to detect any abnormalities. If your dentist finds an area of concern, he may perform a simple test, such as a brush test, which collects cells from a suspicious lesion in the mouth to be sent to a laboratory for analysis. If this test comes back atypical or positive, he may recommend a biopsy.

Aside from receiving an oral cancer screening during your checkup, there are many things you can do to help prevent oral cancer.

  • The best way to prevent oral cancer is to avoid all tobacco products and only drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Limit your exposure to the sun and always wear UV-A/B-blocking, sun-protective lotions on your skin as well as your lips.

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