Most people only see their dentist when they experience oral issues. However, you should know that regular dental checkups are essential for maintaining excellent oral health. Routine dental exams and cleanings mainly prevent, diagnose, and treat oral issues such as cavities, gum disease, oral infections, and oral cancer.
Dental experts recommend visiting your dentist for dental checkups every 4-6 months. If you’re curious about what happens during a routine dental visit, let’s look at the steps and conditions the dentist is likely to look for during a dental checkup.
Please note that the steps carried out during a routine exam might vary from one dentist to another. Typically, the procedure involves:
Before examining your mouth, the dentist will review your medical history. The dentist will ask about existing medications and health issues such as diabetes, arthritis, etc. Let the dentist know if you have any new health concerns, regardless of their size. This information will help the dentist understand where to focus during the exam and ensure they give you the proper treatment.
After reviewing your medical history, the dentist will begin the checkup by cleaning your teeth. The dentist will scrape off any built-up plaque and tartar. Next, they will brush and floss your teeth thoroughly. Lastly, the dentist polishes your teeth to give them a smooth finish.
After cleaning your teeth, the dentist examines your mouth thoroughly. The dentist can use a small mirror, x-rays images, and touch to check for abnormalities. They look for tender and swollen gums, cavities, tooth decay, oral cancer, and poor bite. If any problem is detected, the dentist will recommend the right treatment before the problem advances to worse stages.
After cleaning and examining your teeth, the dentist will explain the findings. If any problem is detected during the exam, they can provide the necessary treatment. The dentist will also guide you on caring for your mouth and overall well-being. The dentist can schedule future appointments.
Commonly, the dentist checks for the following oral issues:
One of the critical issues a dentist will check for during a dental assessment is signs of cavities and tooth decay. Treating cavities and tooth decay on time helps to eliminate the discomfort and risk of losing the tooth.
Gum disease is a rising concern. If left untreated, it may lead to serious complications such as gum recession, oral infections, loose teeth, and bone loss. The dentist looks for signs of gum disease such as tender, swollen, discolored, bleeding, and receding gums. Your dentist can use treatments such as scaling and root planing, gum surgery, and deep cleaning based on your condition.
Your dentist will also check your bite. In cases of misalignments, the dentist will offer the required orthodontic treatments such as veneers, braces, and Invisalign. If not addressed, a poor bite can lead to complications such as TMD, facial distortions, teeth cracks, and enamel erosion.
Besides maintaining excellent oral health, dental checkups also keep your smile looking beautiful. During the exam, the dentist looks for cosmetic issues that could be ruining your smiles, such as dental stains, damage, and misalignments. Cosmetic dentistry procedures such as teeth whitening, dental veneers, dental crowns, and dental implants can restore the aesthetics of your teeth, giving you a healthier, straighter, and brighter smile.
Like most cancers, oral cancer is treatable when detected early. Most dentists are now performing cancer screening tests during routine dental checkups. The dentist checks for early signs of oral cancer on the throat, neck, gums, cheeks, tongue, lips, and mouth. If the dentist notices any abnormalities, they will likely reschedule you for more advanced tests such as biopsies.
For more information about dental exams and cleanings, contact South Hadley Dental Group.