Your oral health care is of primary concern to us here at Woodcreek Dental. Prevention is always better than cure, hence our advice to attend regular checkups that include a dental exam. These exams do not just focus on your teeth and gums, but also other soft tissue in the mouth, the face and neck areas. It may also include diagnostic examinations through x-rays if recommended.
Time is taken to review your oral hygiene habits. If there is a need for it, we can also go into brushing and flossing demonstrations. Diet and other lifestyle concerns may also be discussed as this can have some bearing on your health and appearance of a healthy, bright smile. If warranted, we will recommend restorative procedures that can improve your looks, functionality, and confidence.
Reasons for Dental Exams
Dental exams play an important role in preventative health care. By having a medical professional examine your mouth, head, and neck areas, it is possible to detect many health problems early on. Conditions like diabetes and arthritis will often present symptoms in these areas and can mean early diagnosis and treatment that will save you many complications and cost further on.
Even with just a focus on oral health, there are many conditions that can be detected even before they have had chance to cause pain or other visible symptoms. Diagnosis of plaque buildup, gum disease, and oral cancers is often done when they have begun to present visible symptoms at this point, however, the problems are already escalated and require more severe intervention to restore health.
As a rule of thumb, we find that twice-annual checkups are sufficient. If however, you are in a high-risk group like smokers, diabetics, and those with recurring oral problems like cavities and gum disease, we may recommend more frequent visits.
What Happens During Dental Exams
Your visit will normally begin with a review of your medical history. We will look at any recent treatments and how they have been affecting you. We will also require an update from you as to your current health status. Be sure to inform us of any new medical concerns and medications you have been prescribed. Also, mention any oral problems you may have previously experienced that went away.
Next is a visual check of your mouth. We examine each tooth and surrounding gum tissue with an explorer. If there is a presence of plaque and tartar, cleaning will be carried out. We will also check on gum recession and any problems with previous restorative work. Initial exams will also check on the alignment of jaws and that your bite is correct.
Probing of soft tissue in the mouth and neck area, with a gloved finger, will be done to check for any lumps or tenderness. This is often done as part of oral cancer screening. Depending on the result of these checks and if this is your first visit, we may order x-rays. X-rays can better detect hidden decay and other problems that a visual exam may not. After that we will review the results of the exam with you and prescribe any treatments if need be.
Most patients will also have a dental hygienist perform a dental cleaning at the same time of your exam. This will help clean any plaque around your teeth and gums that is missed with regular brushing.
There is no reason to feel anxiety over dental checks. Our professional team is available to advise and guide you through this very simple but important process. Call us at Woodcreek Dental at (805) 482-6389 to make your appointment today.