Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/2/2014 (2775 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Regular oral-health examinations, also known as dental checkups, are essential to maintaining good oral health and well-being. Just as you would schedule your automobile for an inspection and regular service, it is important to see your dentist at least once a year for a dental checkup. A visit to the dentist may not be at the top of your priority list, especially if you are not experiencing a problem, but if you wait until something is wrong with your teeth, the result may be added cost, time and discomfort.
As a dentist, I strive to make your experience in the dental chair as comfortable and painless as possible. With regular dental checkups, I am able identify and treat many dental problems before you are even aware they exist.
So what's in a dental checkup? As a dentist, I maintain detailed records of your dental health and medical history. It is important to identify any previous medical treatment or conditions, allergies and all medications you may be taking, even over-the-counter herbal medications. Some medical conditions may require modifications to your dental-treatment regimen; likewise, some medications can conflict with anesthetics, antibiotics or painkillers I use during your dental treatment and may need to be adjusted.
I do not just check your teeth during the examination; I look at more than 15 key areas, including your gums, tongue, cheeks and palate. I am checking for things such as gum disease, loose fillings, cavities and early signs of oral cancer. Radiographs, commonly referred to as X-rays, help me check areas in the mouth that are not otherwise visible to the naked eye. They instantly show cavities and the early breakdown of tooth structure that may later become a cavity. X-rays also show the location and condition of existing fillings, the health of the root and tissue surrounding the tooth.
The panoramic X-ray may also be used to evaluate wisdom teeth, sinuses and the temporomandibular joint/jaw joint and bone that supports your teeth.
You may recall your dentist or hygienist placing a small measuring device or probe between your tooth and gums. The measurement of gum recession, bleeding and pocketing below the gum line in conjunction with X-rays helps me to determine the health of your gums and bone, also known as periodontal health. While it is important to keep teeth strong and free of cavities, it is equally important to maintain strong bone and gums, which form the foundation for our teeth.
The professional cleaning is a must for preventing gum disease by keeping this foundation strong and free of toxins found in tartar. Did you know gum disease is the No. 1 cause of tooth loss in adults?
I gather all of the information collected during the dental checkup, including any specific oral health or esthetic concerns and present each patient with a customized comprehensive treatment plan.
Please remember, a series of successful checkups does not mean that you never have to see your dentist again. Just like regular service is important to keep your automobile running smoothly, regular checkups and maintenance will keep you smiling for years to come.