Having regular dental check-ups is an important factor in keeping your teeth healthy and preventing future problems such as cavities, but it is much more than just looking after your teeth. A dental check-up involves a thorough examination of your entire mouth, which allows your dentist to identify any changes or abnormalities that could indicate a problem.
During a dental check-up, your dentist will evaluate the health of your mouth and look for any changes since your last visit. This involves checking your teeth, along with the gums, tongue, palate (roof of the mouth), and other tissues inside the mouth. Your dentist may also check your face and neck for any abnormalities or changes. A thorough oral examination allows your dentist to identify any potential problems, irregularities, or conditions including gum disease, diabetes, vitamin deficiency, or oral cancer. Early detection of these conditions can mean more effective and less invasive treatments further down the line.
Dental exams can also include diagnostic procedures or dental X-rays of your teeth, gums, and bones to assess their structure and health. Additionally, at every check-up, your dentist will ask about your general health, medications you are taking, and any changes to your overall health because certain factors may affect oral health.
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, causes gums to become swollen, sore, or infected and is a leading cause of tooth loss in adults. The condition can cause harmful bacteria to infect the gums and affect the tissues that support the teeth. It doesn’t always produce obvious symptoms until it has progressed to an advanced stage, but gum disease is preventable and your dentist will be able to identify any early signs of the condition during your examination. It is a highly treatable condition with early detection, and your dentist can help you put preventative measures in place to improve and protect your oral health. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth, gum, and bone loss.
Oral cancer is cancer that develops in any part of the mouth including the lips, tongue, gums, inner lining of the cheeks, palate, and the floor of the mouth, under the tongue. It can also develop in other areas of the mouth such as the saliva glands or the tonsils, but this is much less common. Oral cancer can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated in its early stages. Early oral cancer doesn’t always present obvious symptoms or pain, but regular check-ups with your dentist can help to prevent it or identify it in its early stages. Your dentist will look for any abnormalities or precancerous conditions in the mouth. This can include lumps or irregular tissue changes in the mouth, around the head, face, or neck, abnormalities such as sores, discolored tissue, or changes from your previous examination. A biopsy or additional tests may be required to help identify or determine the cause of any abnormalities.
What To Expect At A Dental Check-up
At a regular dental check-up, your dentist will:
- Assess your oral health and hygiene
- Look for signs of tooth and root decay as well as gum and bone diseases
- Check any crowns and fillings
- Evaluate your need for any dental treatment or tooth restoration/replacement
- Check your bite and assess your jaw for any problems
- Clean teeth (remove stains, plaque, or deposits on the teeth)
- Demonstrate particular cleaning techniques or make recommendations to improve your oral health
- Review your need for fluoride
- If necessary, take dental X-rays or carry out diagnostic procedures
If you require further dental treatment following your check-up, your dentist will let you know what to expect.
Regular dental check-ups can identify and prevent problems such as tooth decay and oral diseases before they get worse. Dental experts recommend seeing a dentist at least every six months, but this can vary. Your dentist will advise you how often you should have check-ups. To ensure teeth remain healthy, you should attend all of your dental appointments.
Comprehensive Oral Healthcare in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
If you are looking for comprehensive dental care for you and your family, visit Hagerman Dental Care. We offer a full range of dental services including general dentistry and state-of-the-art restorative and cosmetic dentistry in one convenient location. If you would like to find out more information about our services or to book an appointment, call us today at (651) 646-2392 or use our online form to request an appointment at your convenience.