While you understand the importance of having your teeth cleaned every six months, did you know that the dental exam performed by your dentist is an important step to maintaining exceptional oral health?
Four Things You May Not Realize Occur During Your Dental Exam
- X-rays Reviewed – If x-rays are called for at your appointment, they are carefully reviewed for signs of dental decay, gum disease, or problems associated with cracks in dentition indicating the possible need for a root canal.
- That conversation about your health history and any medication modifications since your last visit may provide clues to important changes in your oral health.
- Your dentist checks for jaw alignment looking for any problems that could lead to chewing discomfort or problems associated with your TMJ (temporomandibular joint).
- The exam is more than just looking at the condition of your teeth. While checking for decay, this exam is also looking for the onset of gum disease; health problems revealed by the condition of your tongue and mouth; and very importantly, signs of oral cancer.
This Dental Exam Could Save Your Life
This is not an understatement … any lesions that appear suspicious are treated by taking a specimen and forwarding it to a lab for diagnosis. Oral cancer, when caught early, is treatable.
Some of the early warning signs of oral cancer include a sore on the lip or in the mouth that won’t heal; discolored patches inside the mouth; unexplained oral growth or lump; loose teeth; pain. Your dentist looks for these signs during every dental exam, but an awareness on the part of the patient may mean catching a problem before it can escalate.
Oral cancer can occur without warning, but is likely more prevalent in patients who use tobacco in any form or consume alcohol in excess. It is important to note that genetics can play a role as well.
The best ways you can participate in enjoying great oral health is by following the advice issued by your dentist; brushing your teeth twice every day with a fluoridated toothpaste; and flossing teeth daily to remove what your toothbrush missed. Make sure to make and keep those important dental office visits to have teeth cleaned, and have that very important dental exam performed.
If it’s time to schedule your next visit, contact our team at Tate Family Dentistry today.