We often hear that we should get a dental exam every six months. However, most adults do not follow this recommendation. While the importance of a dental exam is often stated, not many people are aware of what a dental exam is and its many benefits.
It is essential for people to fully understand what a dental exam is, the importance of a dental exam, and what they should expect from a dental exam. Our Silverdale dental experts at Life Long Dental put great importance on the awareness of dental exams. Hence, people understand there is more to the dental exam than just a checkup.
What is a Dental Exam?
A dental exam consists of a complete dental checkup and professional teeth cleaning performed by either a dentist or a dental hygienist.
A dentist is trained to check and treat teeth and gums, while a dental hygienist is trained in professional care and mouth hygiene.
Dental exams are essential for preventative dentistry and improving oral health. More than two billion people suffer from poor oral health, which includes more than 500 million children.
The importance of dental exams have increased over the years. They are key to ensure good oral hygiene and prevent other health problems.
Types of Dental Exams
Depending on your oral health or issues, Life Long Dental will offer three types of dental exams.
Comprehensive Dental Exam
A comprehensive dental exam involves a full mouth x-ray, cancer screening, checking for diseases, and inspection of each tooth. A comprehensive exam is conducted every few years to ensure proper oral health.
Regular Dental Exam
A regular dental exam consists of a routine checkup and cleaning to ensure no sudden oral health concerns and to maintain teeth and gum health.
Limited Dental Exam
A limited dental exam checks for localized issues such as toothache, damage, or tooth loss. Limited dental exams are based on the situation and the symptoms the patient feels, and a screening finds and treats the cause of concern.
Benefits of Dental Exams
A common misconception is that dental exams only include basic dental checkups. However, there is more to dental exams than people think.
Maintaining Overall Health
Oral health problems can adversely affect the rest of the body, including the digestive and respiratory tracts. Poor oral hygiene results in bacterial growth and plaque formation. Bacterial growth results in inflammatory reactions and may cause fever and swelling in the mouth. Some of these bacteria can also travel to the rest of the body.
Through dental checkups, you can avoid such health problems from developing. Dental checkups include detailed checks of oral health and bacterial growth to avoid any infections that may harm your health.
Maintain Oral Health
Oral health includes checking your teeth, gums, jaw strength, and alignment. This includes checking signs of swelling, sores, bleeding, or irritation in the mouth and measuring the space between the soft tissue where the tooth is secured and the gum line.
Additionally, the doctor will assess jaw alignment by having you clench your jaw or biting down.
Depending on your oral health, the doctor will recommend necessary treatment to ensure that your oral health stays good. A dental checkup can help prevent tartar and plaque buildup, cavities, and other decay.
Checking for Diseases
Oral checkups can help doctors identify early signs of diseases such as cancer or diabetes. Gum infection and halitosis (bad breath) are among the signs of diabetes. Additionally, patients with diabetes have a weaker immune system, so they cannot easily fight infections in the gums.
While checking for growths and tumors is expected, your dentist can identify early signs of throat and mouth cancer during your dental checkup. Oral cancer accounts for up to 3% of cancers.
Professional Teeth Cleaning
A dental exam consists of a thorough and professional teeth cleaning. Dr. Gillespie will expertly clean the teeth and gums to remove any plaque or tartar buildup. While you might be good at cleaning and flossing yourself, a professional teeth cleaning is more effective and can treat areas of the mouth you cannot easily reach.
After your teeth cleaning, you will notice a shiny and smooth finish, making your teeth look healthier.
What to Expect from a Dental Exam
A dental exam consists of a checkup that is followed by a cleaning. Dental exams take around 45 minutes to an hour and include a full oral checkup.
During a Checkup
During your checkup, Dr. Gillespie will look at any x-rays and then look at your teeth. A dental probe with an angled mirror is inserted to look behind the teeth and the gumline.
Then, you will have to bite down so your doctor can assess your jaw strength and alignment. Finally, the doctor will check for oral cancer and signs of other diseases. These signs include sores, ulcers, spontaneous bleeding, and blockage of salivary glands.
During a Professional Teeth Cleaning
During your professional teeth cleaning, you will sit in a chair while the light is shone overhead. Then, your mouth will be kept open using dental tools, and Dr. Gillespie will scrape your teeth to remove any plaque buildup.
Then, we'll floss and brush your teeth. A fluoride gel will be applied to your teeth to prevent decay and cavities. Finally, a spinning polisher is used to give your teeth a smooth finish.
Before you leave, our awesome dentist will give you some tips to keep your teeth healthy and plaque-free.
Schedule a Dental Checkup Today
To ensure proper oral health or to treat oral issues, schedule a dental checkup at Life Long Dental to get expert analysis and treatment. Dr. Gillespie is a trained dentist with years of experience and can help you maintain oral health and ensure that you don't suffer from oral issues.
If you are facing oral health issues or want to get a dental checkup, schedule an appointment with Life Long Dental by calling us at (360) 633-2377 today!