The Importance of Routine Dental Exams
The best way to protect against oral health issues is with preventive dentistry. Preventive dentistry is a discipline of oral health focused on preventing oral health issues from developing or catching them in their earliest stages for more effective treatment. One of the key components of preventive dentistry is attending regular dental exams.
Even patients who follow the most rigorous at-home oral hygiene routines can develop oral disease. Detecting oral health issues often requires a diagnosis from a trained professional with access to special equipment. At Chapko & Shah Modern Dentistry, we use the latest technology and most accurate techniques available in modern dentistry to detect problems in their earliest stages or prevent them altogether.
Keeping up with your dental examinations can save you time and money. It eliminates the need for more invasive, costly procedures like root canals and extractions. Preventing oral health issues with regular exams and cleanings can also help protect your overall health.
What Happens During a Routine Dental Exam?
During a routine dental exam at Chapko and Shah Modern Dentistry, we’ll perform a few key tasks to determine your level of oral health. Some of these tasks include:
- Oral Exams
- Cancer Screenings
During your oral exam, your dentist will use special equipment to examine your mouth and throat. Oral exams assist in determining which areas are prone to problems or if there are problems present. If your dental professional has reason to believe there’s a problem, they can perform a further examination using X-rays and cancer screenings.
Digital radiography, also known as a digital X-ray, is especially useful for detecting problems that often can’t be seen with the naked eye. Your dentist may recommend taking X-rays to get a better look at what’s going on beneath your gums. They allow our doctors to gain a better understanding of the state of your jawbone and the structure of your teeth.
Rest assured that X-rays performed by our trained professionals are completely safe, giving off less than 2 percent of the background radiation you’re exposed to on a daily basis.
The American Cancer Society estimates that oral cancer will affect over 54,000 Americans and throat cancer will impact over 12,470 Americans. In both cases, early detection allows for more successful treatment. During a cancer screening, our dentists will examine your mouth and throat, and look for abnormal or possibly cancerous tissue growths and sores.
During a professional cleaning, we’ll thoroughly brush, floss, and polish your teeth for you. This process not only helps to brighten your smile, but it also removes bacteria-laden, acidic plaque, and tartar.
Plaque and tartar are results of bacteria and food particles mixing with the saliva in your mouth. This bacteria replicates and produces acid as waste, increasing your risk of the following:
- Bad breath
- Gum disease
- Tooth decay
While regular brushing and flossing help remove these substances, they can accumulate in hard-to-reach and easy to miss areas. Our skilled staff will detect and remove these substances from areas that toothbrushes can’t easily reach, helping to prevent these issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
Your at-home oral hygiene is just as vital to your oral and overall health as regular exams. To help maintain a healthy mouth during your own time, our dentists suggest the following advice:
- Brush your teeth twice a day for at least 2 minutes.
- Use circular motions when you brush.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Replace your toothbrush every three months or when the bristles are damaged.
- Don’t brush too hard.
- Floss your teeth at least once a day.
- Limit sugary and acidic foods.
- Rinse with mouthwash between meals.
Most dental insurance providers understand that regular dental exams are key to preventing the need for more expensive procedures, and will usually cover your exams. Nonetheless, you should call your provider beforehand and ask them if they will cover some or all of the cost of your routine exams. We also offer financing options such as CareCredit and Wells Fargo in order to make your exams more affordable.
Visiting Chapko & Shah Modern Dentistry for an exam at least twice a year will enable our dentists to detect and treat issues before they can develop or advance further. Twice yearly visits will also allow our dentists to keep better track of your oral and overall health, so we can develop a more personalized treatment/prevention plan. Depending on your specific oral health needs, additional visits may be necessary.
Gum disease can be truly debilitating, especially if it progresses to its most advanced stage. You can help prevent gum disease by following these tips:
- Stay hydrated.
- Practice proper oral hygiene.
- Visit Chapko and Shah Modern Dentistry bi-annually for exams.
- Don’t smoke or quit smoking.
Routine dental exams should be painless. Pain or sensitivity during an exam might signal a problem that we can detect and prescribe treatment for. Rest assured that our dentists and our staff are trained and equipped to provide the care and attention you need for a comfortable visit.