If you're a new patient, your dentist can do a brief initial exam to determine any obvious problems and then refer you to a dental hygienist for professional cleaning. If you have pain or an immediate problem, your dentist can treat these problems first, before cleaning. A dental exam is a review of your teeth and gums. Most children and adults should have a dental exam every six months.
These tests are important for protecting oral health. Oral health problems can become serious and painful if not treated right away. A dental exam is usually combined with the regular scheduled “dental cleaning visit” with dental hygienists. During the dental exam, your dentist will evaluate if you have gum disease, tooth decay, or oral cancer and will ask you about any underlying medical conditions.
The dentist or dental hygienist may also want to discuss certain lifestyle factors, as they affect dental health. Dental x-rays are taken to evaluate areas that are not visible to the naked eye. A routine dental exam also checks for signs of gum problems, such as swelling, redness, or sores. Dental x-rays are images that can show tooth decay, gum disease, bone loss, and other problems that can't be seen just by looking at the mouth. People with healthy teeth and gums are advised to book their dental hygiene visit based on their needs, and your dentist and hygienist will let you know.
Even if you no longer have your natural teeth, regular visits to the dentist are important for maintaining your oral health and the effectiveness of replacement teeth. The patient's age, dental health, and the frequency of regular dental exams can affect the length of the consultation. Dental exams are used to help detect tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems early, when they're easier to treat. In this way, you can intervene early in the case of dental problems, as long as they are smaller (they damage the teeth less) and their treatment is cheaper. It's important that your dentist knows about any medical conditions, treatments, and medications to ensure that there are no complications during dental treatment. For example, people with a history of underlying gum disease tend to respond better to dental care when they see their dental team to have their teeth cleaned as often as 3 to 4 months.
A regular dental exam also provides the dentist with an opportunity to remind you of the best ways to practice oral health at home and to evaluate if fluoride applications might benefit you. The person may not notice the early stages of oral cancer, so your dentist will watch for signs of mouth or throat cancer. A typical dental exam will include cleaning by a hygienist, x-rays at certain visits, and a dental checkup of the mouth. However, if you have ongoing dental health problems, your dentist may suggest more frequent dental care appointments. Continuity of dental care is necessary to keep teeth and gums strong and healthy.
According to the consumer platform MouthHealthy of the American Dental Association (ADA), 100 million people in the United States do not visit their dentists regularly enough for preventive care. Dentists offer different types of dental exams depending on the problem or problems experienced by the patient. It is essential that everyone takes care of their oral health by visiting their dentist regularly for preventive care exams. Regular checkups help detect any potential issues early on so that they can be treated quickly and effectively before they become more serious.