Dental Exams are an important part in your permanent dental history. Patients should receive dental exams once every six months. During a routine exam the dentist will focus on the following:
- Dental X-Ray Review: This helps to detect tooth decay, cysts or tumors, or bone loss. The x-ray is also used to help determine tooth and root positions.
- Oral Cancer Screening: The gum line, lips, throat, face, and neck will be thoroughly reviewed for signs of cancerous growth that is essential in early detection.
- Evaluate Gum Health: The gum line and the surrounding bone will be reviewed for any signs of periodontal disease.
- Examine for Tooth Decay: Our dentist uses specialized tools that are used to check each section of a tooth for signs of tooth decay.
- Examine Restorations: Any crowns, fillings, implants, or veneers will be checked for damage.
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Thorough cleanings performed by our hygienists, known as Dental Prophylaxis, are useful to help keep teeth healthy. This cleaning should be scheduled a minimum of once every six months. The cleanings will likely include:
- Calculus and Tarter Removal: Plaque that is left on the tooth surface hardens into calculus. This hardened material is firmly attached to the tooth exterior and can only be removed by our hygenist using special tools.
- Plaque Removal: Plaque is a sticky and invisible substance that forms on the teeth. It includes food particles, saliva, and harmful bacteria that can erode tooth enamel or cause periodontal disease when not removed.
- Teeth Polishing: This removes excess bacteria and plaque that is not removed with standard brushing and dental scaling.
Preventative Services - Oral Hygiene
Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied to the grooves on the chewing surfaces of the molars and pre-molars to help prevent tooth decay. Most tooth decay in children and teens occurs on these surfaces. Sealants keep germs and food particles out of the grooves found in these teeth.
Applying sealants does not require drilling or removing tooth structure. The process is short and easy. After the tooth is cleaned, a special gel is placed on the chewing surface for a few seconds. The tooth is then washed off and dried. Then, the sealant is painted on the tooth. The dental hygienist also may shine a light on the tooth to help harden the sealant. It takes about a minute for the sealant to form a protective shield.
- Bitewing X-Ray: A bitewing x-ray is taken in order to view the upper and lower posterior teeth and how the teeth touch each other in a single view. These x-rays will show if there is decaying between the teeth and will also show how well the upper and lower teeth align. The x-ray will show if there is any bone loss when a severe gum disease or a dental infection is present.
- Periapical X-Ray: A periapical x-ray shows the entire tooth, from the exposed crown to the end of the root and the bones that support the tooth. These X-rays are used to find dental problems below the gum line or in the jaw. Some examples would be an impacted tooth, abscess, cysts, tumor, and bone changes that are linked to some diseases.
- Panoramic X-Ray: A Panoramic X-Ray shows a broad view of the jaws, teeth, sinuses, nasal area, and temporomandibular (jaw) joints. These x-rays show problems such as impacted teeth, bone abnormalities, cysts, solid growths (tumors), infections, and fractures. A panoramic x-ray is taken once every three-five years unless medically necessary.