Dental Check Up
To maintain a healthy teeth & gums we advise you visit a dentist twice a year. This frequency level works well for most people, although some people with gum disease, a genetic predisposition for plaque build-up or cavities, or a weakened immune system might need to visit the dentist more frequently for optimal care.
Also, keep in mind that certain life events - particularly those that cause stress or illness - might cause changes in the mouth or the development of an infection, and might make more frequent visits to the dentist necessary.
The three biggest reasons that most strongly support the twice-yearly visitation schedule are:
- So that we can check for problems that you might not see or feel
- To allow us to find early signs of decay (decay doesn't become visible or cause pain until it reaches more advanced stages.)
- To treat any other oral health problems found (generally, the earlier a problem is found, the more manageable it is.)
What is involved in a dental check-up?
Your dental exam will likely include these evaluations:
- Head and neck - We will look for any problems on the exterior surface of your head and neck, as well as feel for any swelling or tenderness (which are signs of an infection or disease) in your lymph nodes and salivary glands in your neck area. We will also examine your temporomandibular joint to determine if it is working properly.
- Soft tissue - The soft tissues of your mouth include the tongue, inside of the lips and cheeks, and the floor and roof of the mouth. We will examine these areas for spots, lesions, cuts, swellings, or growths that could indicate an oral health problem. Your dentist will also inspect the back of your throat and tonsil area.
- Gum tissue - We will examine your gums and supporting structures of the teeth. Your dentist will look for signs of gum disease, which include red or puffy gum tissue and tissue that easily bleeds when gently poked. If your dentist determines you have gum disease, he or she might send you to a periodontist.
- Occlusion - We will check how well your upper and lower teeth come together. Your dentist might simply look at how your teeth meet, or he or she might take wax impressions of your teeth if a more careful exam of "your bite" is necessary.
- Clinical examination of teeth - We will check for signs of tooth decay by examining the surface of every tooth. He or she will likely poke your teeth with a dental instrument, called an explorer, to look for cavities. (Decayed enamel feels softer when poked compared to healthy enamel.) Your dentist will also check for any problems with fillings, braces, bridges, dentures, crowns, or other restorations.
- X-rays - We will take X-rays to look for signs of tooth decay, as well as for gum disease and other oral health problems.