Unless you’ve been living under a rock, its most likely obvious to you that regular dental exams are key to keeping your teeth and gums as healthy as possible. But sometimes people are unsure what to expect at the dentist.
But you may not know the state of your teeth and gums can also be related to a host of other health problems. This is why you should be taking your dental checkups as seriously as regular visits to the doctor.
Still, many of us put off going to the dentist. Sometimes it’s because of anxiety or nerves. If you get nervous about the dentist, it can help to be prepared.
At Synergy Dental Implant and Oral Surgery Center, we want to make sure you are well-equipped with the information needed to feel comfortable about your next dental checkup.
Below we’ve prepared a guide on what you can expect at the dentist and how to prepare.
Before the Exam
Before you visit, make note of any health and lifestyle changes that may have occurred since the last visit. These changes may impact how your dentist will treat you and will be important to have on record.
Updated Items may include things like:
- Medication changes
- Heart disease or related problems
- Diet changes
- And more…
When preparing for your next appointment, write down any questions you may have regarding your dental or oral health so you don’t forget to ask.
These items may include questions about bad breath, problems with your oral health care routines, lifestyle changes you have made (or want to make), mouth sores, and anything to do with your teeth, gums and mouth that you are curious or worried about.
During the Exam
If your teeth are in good shape, you may only need a basic checkup and cleaning. This typically means that a hygienist will take care of your mouth and give you an inspection which may not be as thorough as an in-depth examination. Be sure to clarify what treatment you are receiving beforehand so you can be fully prepared.
For a full exam, a few things you may expect include:
- Your dentist/hygienist to investigate for signs of disease
- Your dentist/hygienist to investigate for signs of cavities
- A full head, throat, and jaw inspection
- X-rays (possibly)
- A saliva analysis (possibly)
- A discussion about oral hygiene habits
- A discussion about results and risk factors
- Cleaning, polishing, flossing and (possibly) fluoride
Cleanings are generally carried out by a licensed hygienist. Your cleaning should include a thorough brushing with a special brush and polishing toothpaste, as well as a flossing. At this time you will be able to have a discussion about anything that’s been bothering you. You can also ask for advice and recommendations from the hygienist about your oral hygiene.
X-rays will be offered more often based on your mouth, your overall health and your age. But they should be done every year or two depending on your risk factors. Be sure to inform your dentist if you are pregnant, and avoid X-rays if so.
X-rays are important, since they offer the dentist a detailed picture. They help identify problems that can go undetected in a normal examination, such as cysts, tooth decay, and impacted teeth. If you are worried about safety, know that there is very little radiation emitted from up-to-date machines. Additionally, we’ll make sure the dentist puts on a lead apron.
Jaw and Mouth Exam
Your dentist and hygienist should always perform a general check for symptoms and indications of cancer. These signs can include discoloration or unusual masses. Then dental team will gently probe the jaw and neck area and may also examine around the face.
If there’s indication of your teeth or jaw shifting, the dentist or hygienist may perform a bite analysis. This is most likely needed during childhood and teen years. Regular teeth and wisdom teeth need to be examined for unusual growth or impaction. But it also may be asked of older individuals experiencing bone loss due to conditions like osteoporosis.
If there is evidence of teeth shifting or changing, the dentist may recommend a mouthguard, braces, or other solutions to help stabilize or re-align the teeth.
Set Up an Appointment Today!
Having a fresh, clean set of teeth is great for your confidence. Knowing your mouth is healthy and treating problems promptly will save you plenty of time, stress, and even cash in the future.
Early detection is essential for the prevention of all kinds of health problems. Be sure to contact a trusted dentist today if it’s been longer than 6 months. We hope that our tips on what to expect at the dentist will help reduce any feelings of anxiety at your next visit!