Even though paying a visit to your dentist isn’t typically something that people enjoy, ensuring that you have a regular dental exam to diagnose and prevent any issues is an important part of keeping your teeth healthy and your smile bright. Not only that, but recent research has shown that poor oral health has implications for your overall health as well. Patients with poor oral health are at increased risk for diabetes, stroke, and even heart attack.
Kane & Kerper Dentistry provides each of their patients with thorough dental exams that address any dental problems that they might have and strives to make the process as easy as possible for the patient. Their caring and professional staff understands that some patients may be a bit more unsettled than others during the in-office exam, and are committed to keeping you as comfortable as possible throughout the process. So, if you’ve been avoiding visiting the dentist for some time and aren’t quite sure just how a dental exam can be of any benefit to you, then please take a moment to read through our brief guide to dental exams.
What can I expect during a dental exam?
During your dental exam, your dentist will carefully examine your teeth, mouth, and jaw in order to evaluate your oral hygiene practices and assess your overall oral and dental health. An exam also evaluates your bite and assesses your risk of developing bone disease or gum disease. Dental issues such as root and tooth decay, as well as stains or deposits on your teeth will also be evaluated. Your dentist will check for any teeth that need to be repaired or replaced, and check your jaw for problems. They will also check your teeth for signs of uneven wear that may be caused by conditions such as bruxism (tooth grinding).
The dentist will perform a routine dental cleaning in order to remove any stains or tartar build up that can lead to tooth decay and cavities. They will also typically take dental x-rays of your teeth if they feel that it is needed, or in some cases a dental impression of your teeth and jaws may be taken to evaluate your bite properly. Should the dentist find any issue with your current oral hygiene habits, they will instruct you on how to properly brush and floss your teeth and ensure that you are getting the proper amount of fluoride through your diet or tooth care products. If they do find dental issues that need treatment, your dentist will also suggest a customized treatment plan to remedy these issues during a routine dental exam.
During your dental exam, you should take time to discuss any medications or medical issues that you have, as these can affect your dental health. A patient with diabetes, for example, has an increased risk of developing tooth decay, as do any patients on medications that cause dry mouth. Patients with arthritis may find that they have trouble brushing their teeth properly; your dentist can make recommendations that will make things easier for you, or suggest a powered toothbrush. In some cases, you dentist may feel the need to counsel you about lifestyle choices that affect your oral health such as smoking, diet, and the amount of soda, tea, or coffee you drink.
Why do I need a dental exam?
It’s recommended that you have a dental exam about every 6 months, in order to give your teeth and gums their best chance at being healthy and functional. Avoiding dental exams will only exacerbate any current dental issues that you may already have or cause new problems, in that you will not be receiving the preventative care that you need to have proper oral hygiene. Though patients who no longer have their natural teeth may assume that they no longer need to have a regular dental exam, that is not the case. Even those patients who have dentures or partials should visit their dentist on a bi-annual basis to ensure that their oral hygiene is still up to par and that their dentures or partials still fit adequately. A dental exam is also an ideal time to ask your dentist any questions you may have about your teeth or gums, and a great opportunity to learn about any new products or techniques that can improve your smile or the health of your mouth.
There is one other reason keeping up a regular schedule of dental appointments and cleanings is important; it gives your dentist the opportunity to perform important oral cancer screenings. Oral cancer affects more than 40,000 people each year, and more than 8,000 people die from the disease. Though it is one of the lesser-known forms of cancer, it is one of the most proliferate. Regular screenings provide the opportunity for your dentist to catch any problems early. If you are found to have oral cancer, the earlier treatment can begin, the better chance you have of achieving a positive outcome and full recovery.
If you have been putting off a regular dental exam for any reason, please call (805) 983-0245 or email us today to schedule your consultation with Kane & Kerper Dentistry. Our caring and professional staff understands that having proper oral hygiene and taking care of any dental problems that may arise can be frightening for some patients. We are committed to giving you the best treatment possible without passing judgment, no matter how long it has been since your last appointment. Let us help you ensure that your smile stays healthy, bright, and beautiful.