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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 needs a careful and thorough evaluation of the mouth. An evaluation is the assessment of a patient’s condition through an interview, observation, examination, and conduction of tests for diagnosis.

Before receiving the consent of the patient for 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 patients’ 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. For instance, a dental assessment can help identify signs of a dental cavity and prevents such a condition from getting worse and going deeper into the nerve. When cavities are left unaddressed, they can cause a myriad of ailments. Tooth sensitivity, teeth staining, toothache, infection, and irritation are examples of possible ailments they can cause.

Dental evaluations can also involve checking the bite helps. This way, the dentist can detect problems with 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 act as the connector between the skull and the jaw bone. These joints are also responsible for making jaw movements possible, which include talking, yawning, and chewing. When the TMJ joints have problems like temporomandibular disorders or TMD, there can be significant pain and impairment of jaw muscles and jaw joints. A jaw joint examination may include visual observation for indications of TMD, a 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, and act as a seal around them. This helps in resisting the friction of food consumption, provides support to the bones, and serves 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. For instance, they can increase one’s susceptibility to certain diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.

Gum or periodontal evaluation often involves a visual inspection. In addition, a measuring gauge can be used to examine the health of the gum tissue.

The dentist will also check the progression of the gum disease, if any. Likewise, they will 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 halted, reversed, or even prevented.

Radiographic Evaluation

In performing dental and gum evaluation, a radiographic evaluation may be required. This can help a dentist better analyze the conditions of one’s 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. In addition, the necessary dental treatment can be identified.

Oral Cancer Check

An oral cancer check or screening looks into signs of precancerous conditions or existing 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. This is normaly apart of a routine dental check-up. If he or she discovers a suspicious area, he or she will recommend a biopsy to determine 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.

Generally, there are numerous ways a dentist can evaluate the oral health of an individual. In fact, for children, airway assessment, dental development, and orthodontic evaluation may be performed. The options go on and on!

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