Dental Exams and Check-Ups
How Important is Oral Hygiene?
Oral hygiene is necessary for eliminating bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria builds to form plaque that can harden and lead to long-term ailments such as gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease, and periodontal disease if it is not removed. A good dental care routine and regular check ups will keep your mouth healthy and prevent inflammation, infection, decay, and tooth loss.
Why Get a Dental Exam?
Dental exams give us the opportunity to evaluate your current methods of dental care and provide suggestions for future care in order to protect you from complications such as cavities and gum disease. They also allow us to detect problems early so they can be fixed quickly and easily.
How Often Should You Get a Dental Exam?
Dental exams should generally take place every six months. However, consult with our team to decide how often you should be examined, for we may suggest that you visit more frequently based on factors such as smoking, frequency of cavities and genetic susceptibility to tooth and root decay as well as gum disease.
What Can I Expect From a Dental Exam?
At a typical dental exam, our team will thoroughly clean your teeth, removing any surface stains or deposits, called tartar or calculus, that are more difficult to remove than plaque and require the assistance of professional dental instruments. We will also check for signs of decay or gum disease. An X-ray may be performed to provide a more detailed summary of your oral health and to more closely identify any problems. We will ask you questions about your current methods of dental care, such as how often you brush your teeth, and floss, as well as whether you use a toothpaste with fluoride. With this information in mind, we will demonstrate proper dental care and provide suggestions on how to improve your habits to promote optimal oral health.
How Can You Prepare For a Dental Exam?
The best way to prepare for a dental exam is to practice good dental care. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day is recommended. Be sure to clean your teeth before you arrive at your appointment. Our team will be cleaning your teeth for you, but it is helpful to remove food and plaque beforehand so we can focus on the more difficult-to-clean areas. You also want to make sure you are prepared to share pertinent information such as your medical history, insurance coverage and current dental care methods with us. Don’t be embarrassed to be honest about your oral health habits – our team is not here to judge you, but to work with you to improve your habits and ensure dental health! Lastly, be prepared to schedule a follow-up appointment or future check-up at the end of your dental exam.
The CariFree is a test that measures the level of acid producing bacteria in ones saliva- if the level reading is above normal we will prescribe medicated rinses to bring the level down.
Velscope for Oral Cancer Screenings
The inside of the mouth is normally lined with a special type of skin (mucosa) that is smooth and coral pink in color. Any alteration in this appearance could be a warning sign for a pathological process. The most serious of these is oral cancer. The following can be signs at the beginning of a pathologic process or cancerous growth:
- Reddish patches (erythroplasia) or whitish patches (leukoplakia) in the mouth.
- A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily.
- A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth.
- Chronic sore throat or hoarseness. Difficulty in chewing or swallowing.
These changes can be detected on the lips, cheeks, palate, and gum tissue around the teeth, tongue, face and/or neck. Pain does not always occur with pathology, and curiously, is not often associated with oral cancer. However, any patient with facial and/or oral pain without an obvious cause or reason may also be at risk for oral cancer.
We would recommend performing an oral cancer self-examination monthly and remember that your mouth is one of your body’s most important warning systems. Do not ignore suspicious lumps or sores. Please contact us so we may help.