Routine dental exams are important to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Additionally, they can help to avoid the financial costs associated with large treatment plans later on. The Academy of General Dentistry recommends twice yearly checkups for people of all ages. At this frequency, most problems can be caught while they remain in an early stage.
How Dental Exams are Performed
The dentist first examines your mouth visually, using dental equipment such as mouth mirrors, dental picks, and high intensity lights. They will look for cracked and decayed teeth, as well as review other important items such as:
Medical history review: The dentist will assess how any new medical conditions or illnesses may affect your dental health. Your overall and oral health are intimately connected.
Examination of tooth decay: Your mouth will be checked for cracked or decayed teeth.
Oral cancer screening: The face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums will be checked for any signs of oral cancer.
Gum disease evaluation: Your gums and bone around the teeth will be checked for any evidence of periodontal disease.
Examination of existing restorations: Current fillings, crowns, and other restorations are made sure to be in good order.
Additionally, your dentist will take diagnostic x-rays to reveal any other hidden problems, especially in the areas below the gums. Bitewing x-rays are typically taken every 12 months and a panographic x-ray, which revolves around the head, is taken every 3-5 years.
Certain medical conditions, such as heart murmurs, heart valve replacements, stents, or prosthetic replacements may require prophylactic antibiotics before your dental appointment. This is done as a preventative measure. If you have any conditions requiring premedication, check with your physician and let us know before your first appointment with us so we can be sure you are covered with the right antibiotic for you.
We follow the current recommendations of the American Heart Association for antibiotic coverage.