Everyone knows that regular dental exams are an important part of good dental hygiene, but few people really understand why they’re important and how regular exams can save them money, time, and a lot of pain and difficulty. Regular visits to the dentist can change the whole trajectory of a patient’s dental future. At Green Tree Dental, we always recommend that parents bring their kids in for exams as young as 1 to 2 years of age so that they start off on with a strong foundation in terms of dental health. Older patients should schedule bi-annual visits to the dentist in order to stay on top of evolving dental issues. If you’ve ever wondered why regular dental exams are important, this article is for you.
What happens during regular dental exams?
During regular dental exams, patients will go through predictable steps. These exams tend to focus on prevention and dental hygiene. They’re performed in order to catch potential dental problems early.
1. Medical Q&A
At Green Tree Dental, a routine dental exam1 consists of some predictable steps. A dental check-up is performed by a general dentist along with an experienced dental assistant. If a teeth cleaning has been scheduled, a dental hygienist will be a part of the team too. But in any case, your appointment will begin with a medical history intake and a look at your file (if you have one). The dentist will ask you questions about the medications you’re currently taking along with herbs and vitamin supplements along with allergies and information about drug and alcohol consumption.
At Green Tree Dental, we’ll also ask you about medical conditions you’re suffering from and what treatments you’re currently undergoing. You may also discuss the previous dental treatments you’ve undergone including surgeries and any anesthesia experiences you’ve had in the past. This information will go toward the development of a treatment plan for any issues the dentist may find during the check-up. Once this question-and-answer session is complete, the appointment will continue on to the second step.
During the second step, the dentist will examine the patient’s teeth, gums, jaw, tongue, and supporting structures. A thorough investigation includes x-rays as well as a visual inspection of the mouth. X-rays are used to find abnormalities and underlying issues that can’t be seen with the naked eye. Full-mouth x-rays are common but sometimes they aren’t necessary, especially if patients exercise good dental hygiene and have regular dental check-ups.
Dental cleanings are an important part of many regular dental check-ups. Cleanings focus on removing tartar build-up on teeth and under the gums. New technologies have improved dental cleaning methods and after the tartar has been removed, the hygienist will polish the teeth and educate patients on brushing and flossing techniques to reduce the risk of dental problems in the future.
Once the teeth have been thoroughly cleaned, another visual exam is performed in which the dentist checks for common dental abnormalities. This exam is done to anticipate potential future dental problems as well and it includes an oral cancer screening. There has been an increasing number of oral cancer cases in the United States, but at Green Tree Dental, we look closely at the mouth and gums for signs of cancer. Oral cancer is a serious issue and its appearance varies. Early detection can make a huge difference in the patient’s outcomes so we regard this part of this exam as vital and we take it very seriously.
Oral cancer is a treatable disease and our dentists are well-trained at diagnosing it. This aspect of the dental exam takes only a few minutes, but it can be life-saving.
After the patient has been thoroughly examined and the teeth have been cleaned, the dentist will discuss any issues or discoveries with you. If serious issues seem on the horizon, the dentist may send you to a specialist for treatment or provide you with additional guidance about how to care for your teeth.
Why routine dental exams are important.
One of the most important aspects of the routine dental exam is the evaluation. During the evaluation, the dentist at Green Tree Dental2 will look closely at your teeth for signs or symptoms of potential dental issues. By regularly visiting the dentist, potential issues can be spotted early which means they can be addressed before things get out of hand. A routine dental exam can mean the difference between a costly procedure that takes place over multiple steps and involving extensive follow-up appointments and one short appointment that’s painless and affordable.
The idea is to invest time in bi-annual dental exams rather than waiting until big, painful, and costly problems arise. The dental check-up is a routine visit that was designed to off-set a patient’s potential dental issues in the future to save the patient time, money, and discomfort.
How often are dental exams necessary?
How often you go in for a routine dental check-up will depend on a number of different variables. If you have existing dental problems, you may need to visit your dentist more often. But if you have a fairly normal dental situation and a healthy mouth, we recommend that you visit the dentist once every six months for check-ups. Periodontal disease and other risk factors may require more frequent visits to the clinic to make sure issues are resolved early and dental hygiene stays on track.
Start kids early with dental check-ups that are relatively painless and simple so that they can get used to going to the dentist and you can teach them that dental visits can be fun! Kids who visit the dentist from a young are more likely to have a good relationship with the dental chair which means they’ll be more likely to visit a dentist readily should they have signs or symptoms of dental problems as adults which will save them money and make them healthier individuals overall.
In summary, the frequency of your dental check-ups will depend on the health of your gums and teeth. So, practice good dental hygiene at home and make the requisite bi-annual trips to visit your dentist. These simple dental check-ups can save you and your family tons of money and all kinds of difficulty in the future.