Aside from daily brushing and flossing, a person can greatly protect oral health by simply visiting the dentist regularly. Just a few dental appointments yearly can provide one with necessary dental checkups, professional cleaning, and diagnosis of oral complications and/or dental treatments.
Depending on one’s oral standing, they may only have to go every six months or more if necessary. But for general oral health screenings and cleanings, going to the dentist twice in 365 days isn’t so bad.
Take into consideration that during a dental examination, the dentist will examine the teeth and gums for any indications of oral cancer, gum problems, dental caries and other forms of dental complications.
To examine more carefully, an X-ray is commonly used. The dental hygienist will get rid of the plaque from the teeth from hard-to-reach areas like in-between teeth and below the gum line. These procedures seem simple but are nevertheless vital for good oral health.
What is an initial dental exam?
An initial dental exam is a type of exam that patients get from their dentist the first time they visit the dental clinic. This exam assumes and verifies that you are not suffering from serious dental complications. (Oral complications require an emergency exam or limited exam.)
Dentists typically spend more time on initial exams considering they are seeing the patient’s teeth for the first time.
We at Hawaii Family Dental subject our patients to an initial dental exam which includes a thorough written record about one’s comprehensive oral health standing.
X-rays or radiographs provide basic information and will commonly be taken at this dental appointment. In the same way, we also take a bacterial plaque sample for microscopic tests and utilize a laser cavity detection device to uncover cavities in the grooves of the teeth. The latter technology allows us to spot cavities before they show up on X-rays. Our dentists will then look into a treatment plan if there is work that is necessary.
After the patient’s next dental cleaning, which is typically six months later, the patient may have a yearly dental exam or periodic exam.
What is a periodic dental exam?
The American Dental Association explains a periodic exam as a type of examination that is performed on established patients to discover any changes in health and dental status. The results from this exam will be compared to the results from a former comprehensive or periodic assessment. The comprehensive exam brings about a periodic exam and is actually more than just a professional cleaning.
The dentist is already aware of the patient’s mouth condition and is searching for any changes pertaining to their oral tissues or teeth.
Furthermore, follow-up records may be systematically necessary at this semi-annual appointment. Patients may also be reminded of remaining dental work that wasn’t completed since their last dental examination.
People are aware of the fact that the mouth is a window to the health of the body. Through an exhaustive dental exam, before symptoms emerge elsewhere in the body, certain medical conditions may be found.
What to Expect During a Dental Checkup
In a number of cases, the dentist and dental hygienist will perform a dental examination. Typically, a checkup comprises of:
- Cleaning and polishing the teeth. The dentist will utilize an ultrasonic dental instrument or hand scaler to easily scrape and get rid of tartar from the patient’s teeth. Afterward, the dentist polishes the teeth with the help of a brush or a rotating rubber cup to eliminate stains or remaining plaque.
- After this procedure, the dentist will talk about any dental hygiene issues present. He or she will show and discuss with the patient how to floss and brush properly if necessary.
- Meanwhile, to provide patients with more premium quality dental services, X-rays or dental radiographs play a role in professional dental care.
The Use of X-rays at the Dentist
X-ray machines provide very useful data about the patient’s dental and oral health. This can give dentists a closer look at the teeth from above and below the gum line.
As the rays infiltrate, these are absorbed by the bones in the mouth more than the soft tissues and gums. In turn, this forms an image of the position of the teeth in the mouth. Thus, this can reveal signs of tooth decay and any possible spots of weakness.
Patients may worry that radiographic equipment generates radiation. The good news is that contemporary advances in X-ray technology are continuously lessening the radiation produced. As a matter of fact, research suggests that the amount of radiation coming from these machines is not much higher than natural sources of radiation (e.g., airplanes, televisions, etc.).
Although X-ray radiation is low, it is still necessary for expecting women to as much as possible avoid unnecessary X-rays. But women who are pregnant are also more prone to gum problems. Thus, this is one reason why sometimes X-rays are advised during pregnancy. Fortunately, the use of a thyroid collar and lead apron will be worn by the patient to prevent radiation in certain regions of the body.