A complete dental exam is performed to assess the current state of your teeth and gums so appropriate treatments can be performed. The examination goes beyond the standard teeth cleaning and visual examination that takes place during biannual trips to the dentist.When you go in for a complete dental exam, the dentist evaluates your oral…
What a Dental Exam Entails
Some people avoid getting a dental exam. The truth is, there is nothing to fear about this visit to the dentist’s office. Dental exams are important for not only your oral health but for your overall well-being. An exam helps to keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong. At these visits, the dentist can also spot emerging problems before they become too severe. If you are worried about your upcoming exam, you can feel more at ease by knowing what will take place.
When to go
Going in for a dental exam should not be a rare occurrence. Patients both young and old should visit the dentist at least every six months. This pattern should start from the time that a child starts getting teeth. Some dental visits may need to be more frequent if the patient has a history of gum disease or tooth decay. Also, people with serious problems such as tooth pain or damage should call the dentist for an appointment immediately.
To begin a dental exam, the hygienist will take X-rays of the patient’s teeth. These pictures provide a look at the teeth, bones, and tissues of the mouth. Without X-rays, a dentist might not be able to identify deep cavities or smaller decay. The dentist will avoid taking X-rays for small children and pregnant women. After taking the X-rays, the hygienist lets the dentist review them.
Cleaning at the dental exam
The cleaning portion of the exam is an important part, especially for people who have excessive plaque or tartar buildup. These substances show up on teeth and at the gumline because of bacteria. Plaque and tartar cause tooth decay and gum disease. The hygienist will scrape off the buildup with a dental tool. Flossing may also accompany this step.
Every dental exam should include a thorough polishing. Using an ultrasonic tool, the hygienist applies a gritty toothpaste to both sides of every tooth. This cleans the teeth and provides a shine. The hygienist will rinse off the teeth, though some grittiness may remain in the mouth.
Some dentist’s offices include a fluoride treatment as part of the dental exam. It is most common for children, though adults can benefit too. Fluoride can strengthen the teeth and help to prevent decay. It may also help make teeth less sensitive. The treatments can be via a liquid that the patient swishes in the mouth. Or, the hygienist may apply it to a mouthguard that the patient wears for a minute.
The dentist’s turn
The last part of the dental exam is when the dentist looks in the patient’s mouth. The dentist may screen for oral cancer and will check for jaw development, bite abnormalities, and alignment problems. The dentist may recommend specific treatments. This is also a good time for the patient to ask questions and raise concerns.
A visit to look forward to
You should not dread a dental exam. This appointment can relieve pain and discomfort. It can give you peace of mind to know that your health is on track. Schedule a visit today so you can have the protection you need.
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