According to the American Dental Association (ADA), it is recommended that you brush your teeth at least twice a day, and floss at least once a day. It is also recommended that you have your teeth professionally cleaned at least twice a year. Following a proper oral care, routine is essential for preventing serious oral health issues. It is still possible, however, to experience issues, even if you strictly follow these guidelines. Many issues start out small, completely unnoticeable, and the longer they go untreated, the worse they become. At Our Dentist, we can help you protect your oral health by spotting issues in their earliest stages with dental exams.
What is a Dental Exam?
We perform dental exams to examine the inside of your mouth. The ADA recommends that you have at least two professional dental exams each year. They are done to check your mouth for any signs of oral health issues. We take a look at your teeth and gums, checking for any signs of damage, decay, and infection. By spotting issues early, we can take action and recommend the appropriate treatment plan to correct them before they become worse.
What Types of Exams are There?
There are several different types of dental exams:
||Periodic dental exams. A periodic exam is your regular, routine dental exam. During this type of exam, we look over your mouth and update your information from your previous visit.
||Comprehensive dental exams. A comprehensive exam is done when it is your first visit to our office (or its been a while since your last visit). We thoroughly inspect your mouth, and we will also take X-rays.
||Limited dental exams. A limited exam is done when you are experiencing specific symptoms, and we are diagnosing their cause. X-rays are often a part of these exams.
||Follow up exams. A follow-up exam is done following a specific treatment. It allows us to assess how well you are healing or responding to treatment.
How is an Exam Done?
Dental exams are relatively straightforward. We start by examining the visible structures within your mouth. We check your teeth for signs of damage, tooth decay, and cavities. We inspect your gums for signs of redness, swelling, and gum recession, which can indicate gum disease. We also take a closer look at your other oral tissues (tongue, lips, cheeks, palate) for any types of abnormalities, as well as look at your face and neck for signs of swelling. We do this to check for signs of oral cancer, a screening that is done at every regular exam.
After we have finished examining your mouth, we then discuss with you. We will touch on subjects such as your at home oral care routine and your oral habits (such as smoking). We can provide you with ways to improve your oral health and address any concerns you might have.
What about Dental X-Rays?
While X-rays are not taken at every routine dental exam, they are still an integral part of your oral healthcare record. These images allow us to see the structures of your mouth that are otherwise unseen, including the spaces between your teeth, the roots of your teeth, and your jawbone. X-rays allow us to see the development of your teeth, note changes in your jawbone (such as bone loss), check for tooth movement, discover cavities between your teeth, and spot issues such as abscesses and cysts. X-rays help us to gain a complete picture of everything that is happening within your mouth and allow us to take appropriate action when issues arise.
Dental exams are an essential part of maintaining optimal oral health. Call Our Dentist at (413) 217-4455 to find out more and schedule your appointment today.