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 you may not know that the state of your teeth and gums can also be related to a whole 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, and sometimes it’s because of anxiety or nerves. If you’re one of those people who gets 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 and how to prepare.
Prepare for the Exam
Before you visit the dentist, it’s a good idea to make note of any health and lifestyle changes that may have taken place 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 to go see the dentist for 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 you are getting before you go so that 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 and should include a thorough brushing with a special automatic 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, as well as get advice and recommendations from the hygienist about your oral hygiene.
X-rays will be offered more often depending on what’s going on with 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.
They are important, since offering the dentist a detailed picture of different types of problems that can go undetected in a normal examination, such as cysts, tooth decay, and impacted teeth. If you are worried about safety with X-rays, know that there is very little radiation emitted from up-to-date machines, and make sure the dentist puts on a lead apron.
Jaw and Mouth Exam
Your dentist and hygienist should always be doing a general check for symptoms and indications of cancer, such as discoloration or unusual masses. To do so, they will likely gently probe the jaw and neck area and may also examine around the face and jaw.
If there’s any indication of your teeth or jaw shifting, the dentist or hygienist may also want to do a bite analysis. This is most likely during childhood and teen years as regular teeth and wisdom teeth need to be examined for unusual growth or impaction. But it also may be asked of older individuals who may be experiencing bone loss due to osteoporosis, for instance.
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.
Don’t Put it Off- set up an appointment today!
Having a fresh, clean set of teeth is not only great for your confidence, knowing that your mouth is healthy and getting problems treated promptly will save you plenty of time, stress even cash in the future.
Early detection is essential for the prevention of all kinds of health problems, so be sure to contact a trusted dentist today if it’s been longer than 6 months.