Dental experts recommend scheduling at least two visits to your dentist per year for dental exams and cleanings. While thorough brushing and flossing will keep your teeth clean, regular dental exams are an essential part of preventive health care. Even with good oral health and hygiene, dental exams and cleanings are still crucial.
Generally, dental exams and cleanings focus on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of dental problems. The dentist will check the mouth for signs of cavities, gum disease, oral cancer, and infections. If a problem is identified, the dentist will begin the treatment process right away or refer you to a specialist.
If you’re wondering what happens on a typical dental exam and cleanings session, here are some highlights:
The dentist will begin the exam by learning a thing or two about you. They will ask you about your oral health, general health, current medications, any problems with your oral structures, and dental fears, among other information. You should also take this chance to ask the dentist any questions you may have regarding your oral health.
Your dentist will physically inspect your gums, teeth, and other oral structures. The dentist may also perform a dental exam before cleaning. If necessary, the dentist may perform x-rays to have a detailed understanding of your oral condition.
If you’re wondering whether a dental exam includes cleaning, yes, it does. Once the dentist has examined your mouth, they will go ahead and clean your mouth. The dentist uses special tools and products to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria build-up in the mouth, reducing the chances of developing cavities, gum disease, and other oral issues. After the cleansing process, the dentist polishes the teeth. They could also perform teeth whitening if your teeth are stained or discolored.
Most dentists perform oral cancer screening on routine dental exams. The screening examines the tongue, throat, cheeks, jaw, lips, neck, and other oral tissues to check for early signs of cancer. Common symptoms of cancer a dentist will watch out for include:
Oral cancer screening is particularly essential for patients at a high risk of developing oral cancer. If detected in its early phases, oral cancer is treatable. Otherwise, it can be life-threatening if it isn’t diagnosed and dealt with early enough.
Dental sealants are especially important for children and teenagers who are at higher risk of developing cavities. The sealant is applied to the surfaces of the back teeth to cover the tiny pits and fissures where food particles get stuck.
Smoothening these surfaces makes it unlikely for debris to build up between the teeth, reducing the chances of developing cavities. Brushing is also made easier. You can also have fluoride treatment performed during a dental exam session.
If you have existing restorations such as dentures, sealants, dental crowns, or bridges, your dentist will inspect them for damages. If a restoration is damaged, it can be replaced or repaired to provide maximum protection.
After the exams, the dentist will take a few minutes to discuss the results with you. If they discovered anything during the exam, they would guide you through the necessary steps. The dentist also takes this time to guide or teach you about a proper oral hygiene routine.
Please note that each patient has unique needs and requirements. Therefore, the type of dental examination you’ll get may differ. You can discuss with your dentist what to expect. For dental exams and cleaning near you, contact TLC Dental Care.
If you have good oral health, experts advise having at least two dental exams and cleanings per year. However, you may need more exams if you have:
If you’re not sure when to see your dentist for an exam, you can ask them for recommendations.
Are you interested in a dental examination procedure? Contact TLC Dental Care to speak with Dr. Terrie Cribbs – an emergency dentist in Knoxville.