The American Dental Association has stated that the single most important aspect of oral health care is brushing and flossing twice a day. Without this, bacteria can take hold of the oral cavity and damage the teeth and gums. Second, to that are the bi-annual professional cleanings and examinations. While brushing and flossing are tantamount to proper oral cavity care, it does not remove all of the bacteria, tartar, and plaque which can lead to tooth decay and potentially gum disease.
Part of the professional cleaning is a thorough examination to look for anomalies which might warrant further investigation. They look for cavities, the onset of tooth decay, indicators of oral cancer, and periodontal disease. Without early detection, these progressive diseases can cause devastating damage to the oral cavity and require extensive and invasive oral surgeries.
Any patient who has questions about an oral exam or who wants to schedule an appointment can come into our office and see us today at Alki Dental. Get your appointment scheduled today.
How Important Are Dental Exams?
Many patients do not understand the importance of having dental exams. Due to them being nervous about the potential pain and discomfort of having someone working on their teeth, they put off getting exams. While this is not uncommon, patients can rest assured that the professional cleaning and exam are painless. There may be a general sense of discomfort as the teeth are scaled both above the gumline and below, but this is a vital part of the cleaning and exam. It removes the bacteria that, if left in place, can cause plaque which can lead to periodontal disease. The minor discomfort of a cleaning is nothing compared to the discomfort associated with more invasive procedures which might be needed to treat gum disease and tooth loss.
What Does an Exam Entail?
The oral exam begins with an extensive discussion about the patient’s medical history. This is important because conditions of the body can affect the oral cavity health just as much as oral cavity health can affect the medical health of the body. It is important moving forward with treatment that our office has complete medical records to determine the course of treatment and to track any medical conditions.
The oral exam consists of our staff examining the face, jaw, neck, and oral cavity when we will look for discolored areas on teeth, gums, tongues, or other soft tissues. We will look at jaw functionality and motion as well as the tongue’s motion to ensure everything is functioning as it should be.
During the exam, they will also screen for oral cancer. Early treatment is so key in treating cancer especially those of the mouth. If any tissue warrants additional inspection or examination, we will recommend having it biopsied and then determining the best course of action.
If you have noticed something concerning in your self-examinations or have not had an exam recently, give our office a call at 206-791-2020 to schedule your first visit.