Your mouth holds several mysteries unbeknown to you that can only be detected by a dentist. Dental exams of your teeth and gums are essential for protecting oral health. Oral health problems have the potential to convert into serious and painful issues if they are not treated promptly.
Dental exams can be conducted by both a dentist and a dental hygienist. Dentists are doctors who have received the training needed to care for the gums and teeth. A dental hygienist is a healthcare professional that has received training to clean teeth and help patients maintain good oral hygiene habits. Dentists can treat people of all ages but children are often referred to pediatric dentists that have received additional training to focus on dental care for children.
Dental exams are beneficial to find tooth decay, gum disease, and other types of oral health problems in the early stages when they are easy to treat. You can consider the exams as an education on the best methods to care for your teeth and gums.
Dental exams are suggested for adults and children every six months. If you develop swollen and bleeding gums which are gingivitis or other gum conditions your dentist may want to see you frequently. Adults that are affected by gum disease will be advised to visit the dentist for comprehensive exams 3 to 4 times a year. The frequent visits will help to prevent a serious condition of gum disease known as periodontitis which can lead to infection and tooth loss.
Children are recommended to have their first dental appointment within six months of their first tooth erupting or before age 1. Children should be examined by the dentist every six months or as recommended by the pediatric dentist. If the dentist detects any problems with tooth development or other oral health issues the child could be recommended more frequent visits.
A dental exam will generally include cleaning by the hygienist, x-rays if needed and full mouth exams by the dentist.
During the cleaning, you or your child will be asked to sit in the dentist’s chair. Small instruments will be used by the hygienist to clean your teeth to remove the buildup of plaque and tartar. Plaque is a sticky film containing bacteria and coating the teeth. If plaque is not removed it hardens into tartar and can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist. After the cleaning, the hygienist will floss your teeth and brush them with an electric toothbrush. They may also apply a fluoride gel to your teeth as a safeguard against tooth decay and cavities. Children receive fluoride treatments more often than adults. The hygienist will offer you tips on caring for your teeth including the techniques for proper brushing and flossing.
After the cleaning is over the dentist will check your x-rays if any to detect cavities that are not visible to the naked eye, examine your teeth and gums for any problems, check for problems with your bite, and oral cancer.
If your child is undergoing the exam the pediatric dentist will examine the child’s mouth to verify whether the child’s teeth are developing normally.
Putting dental anxiety behind you is the first step for preparing for a dental exam. The cleaning may cause some discomfort but will be painless. Dental x-rays are safe for most patients as the radiation in the x-ray is extremely low. However pregnant women will not be recommended dental x-rays and therefore women must inform the dentist if they are or believe they are pregnant.
Keeping your mouth healthy will require you to take good care of your teeth and gums and have regular dental exams from a reputed dentist like Soni Smiles in Clearwater, FL. Following proper oral hygiene habits at home as mentioned below will also prove beneficial.
Get over your dental anxiety and visit the dentist suggested every six months to detect any mysterious problems that may have developed in your mouth.