It’s important to have regular dental exams as a part of your ongoing preventative health care.
During a standard dental exam, the hygienist or dentist will do the following:
Evaluate your oral hygiene and health
Predict your risk of gum disease, bone disease, root decay, and tooth decay
Decide if you need any teeth restored or replaced
Examine your jaw and bite for any issues
Remove any deposits or stains that have discolored your teeth
Show you correct cleaning methods for your teeth
Decide if you need Fluoride
Take dental x rays or run diagnostic procedures
The dental professional should also discuss your overall oral health with you, as well as any medications that you’re on that could affect your oral health. For example, diabetes can dramatically raise your risk of gum disease.
Other medications that have the side effect of dry mouth can increase the chances of tooth decay. If you’re dealing with a mobility issue or arthritis and it is difficult to brush your teeth, the dentist may show you how to put your toothbrush’s handle into a tennis ball or add putty to the handle so that you can hold onto it more easily, or they may be able to suggest an electric toothbrush that’s easier to grasp.
If you have dental prosthetics such as bridges or dentures, your dentist or hygienist will discuss how well they’re fitting and talk to you about any adjustments you need to make.
A dental visit can also consist of counseling about lifestyle factors that might affect your oral health, like tobacco use, diet, and other influences.
Ongoing dental exams are important for your oral health, but they’re also very important for your overall health. For example, some signs of more systemic diseases, like lupus, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis could show up in your mouth first. If your dentist finds symptoms of any of these diseases, they will likely refer you to another doctor to begin treatment.
The exam also gives your dentist a chance to catch oral health problems early, before they become severe, and to recommend treatment options while the issue is still treatable.