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4 Ways Dentists Assess Your Oral Health

A dental visit is imperative in the maintenance and attainment of healthy teeth, gums, mouth, and other parts of the oral cavity.

Ensuring the best condition of oral health need a careful and thorough evaluation of the oral cavity.

An evaluation is the assessment of a patient’s condition through an interview, observation, examination, and conduct of tests for diagnosis.

Before getting the consent of the patient to a comprehensive evaluation, the dentist must provide the patient with the appropriate information about the diagnostic procedure/s to be done.

Dentists listen to the patient’s dental concerns, while also considering their patient’s expectations. They also take into consideration dental and medical histories to identify conditions and medications which may influence the course, development, and management of the dental-related condition.

A comprehensive oral evaluation may include dental, gum, or radiographic assessment, and oral cancer check.

Dental Evaluation

A dental evaluation comprises examining the teeth, the bite, and jaw joint health. A dental assessment helps identify signs of a dental cavity and prevent them from getting worse and going deeper into the nerve.

When cavities are left unaddressed, they can cause tooth sensitivity, teeth staining, toothache, infection, and irritation.

On the one hand, checking the bite helps detect problems on the teeth’s alignment that may be causing unwarranted pressure to the teeth and jaw.

A dental evaluation is also essential in examining jaw joint health. The temporomandibular joints or TMJ acts as the connector between the skull and the jaw bone and makes jaw movements possible which include talking, yawning, and chewing.

A problem with the TMJ leading to temporomandibular disorders or TMD can cause pain and impairment of jaw muscles and jaw joint. A jaw joint examination may include observation of indications of TMD, bite test, and X-rays.

Gum Evaluation

Most often, we equate good oral health with a healthy set of teeth. However, teeth are only one part of the equation. Aside from the hardest substance in our body, its surrounding structures such as the gums are also vital.

Also known as gingivae, the gums comprise the soft tissue lining of the mouth, surround the teeth, act as a seal around them, help in resisting friction of food consumption, provide support to the bones, and serve as an effective barrier to bacteria.

However, gum health can deteriorate and lead to gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis. When not treated, these periodontal diseases can cause tooth loss, damage to the gums, bones, and tissues. They can also affect the overall health, increasing the susceptibility of the body to certain diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.

Gum or periodontal evaluation involves a visual inspection and use of measuring gauge to examine the health of the gum tissue.

The dentist will also check the progression of the gum disease, if any and evaluate the teeth for indication of looseness due to bone loss as a result of the periodontal disease.

Through a gum evaluation, the development and progress of periodontal diseases can be prevented.

Radiographic Evaluation

In performing dental and gum evaluation, a radiographic evaluation may be needed to be better to analyze the conditions of oral health.

A radiograph is an image created on a radiation sensitive film, a phosphorous plate, or a digital sensor through exposure to ionizing radiation.

More commonly known as an X-ray, a radiographic evaluation can show hidden dental structures, cavities, and bone loss. With the resulting images from X-rays, dental problems can be diagnosed more accurately, and the necessary dental treatment can be identified.

Oral Cancer Check

An oral cancer check or screening looks into signs of precancerous conditions or cancer in the oral cavity. The testing intends to identify oral cancer as early as possible.

Usually, the dentist examines indications of lumps or abnormal tissue changes in the oral cavity, neck, head, and face as part of a routine dental check-up. If he or she detects a suspicious area, he or she will recommend a biopsy to know the makeup of the suspicious area.

An oral cancer screening is crucial because early detection of cancer may increase the chances of treatment and recovery.

Other than evaluations and oral cancer screening, the dentist can also review trends in a patient’s oral health condition by looking through previous dental records.

For children, airway assessment, dental development, and orthodontic evaluation may be performed.

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