It is recommended to visit a dentist at least once every six months. However, a large portion of the population fails to do this. The most common reasons for not seeing a dentist range from the cost of having such an appointment, and the failure to see the correlation between good overall health, and good oral health.
Think of a dental exam as a way to prevent any oral health problems. A dental examination will not only discover potential problem areas in your teeth, but it can also help prevent further damage in them.
To make your dental visit less overwhelming, read on to find out the different things that you can expect from a dental exam.
1. Dental and Medical History
Just like in any appointment with a health practitioner, your dentist will ask you to fill out a form, or will interview you regarding your past medical and dental background. He needs to know if you have had prior tooth extractions, tooth fillings, oral surgery, allergies, medications you are taking, etc. This information is necessary, so that he can prepare for, and determine a suitable dental care plan for you.
A dental X-ray may be required during a routine dental exam. This is crucial in seeing the status of your teeth structure, and determining the location and extent of cavity damage. A dental x-ray may not be taken for patients who are pregnant, or those who had prior exposure to radiation.
3. Dental Cleaning
The preventative part of a dental exam occurs during the dental cleaning procedure. In this portion, the dentist cleans, scrapes away the tartar and plaque found in, and between your teeth. Tartar and plaque, if left alone, can cause cavities and periodontal disease.
Dental cleaning, or oral prophylaxis, can be done using handheld metal tools, curettes, or an ultrasonic scaling device. Afterwards, your dentist or the dental hygienist will polish the teeth using toothpaste or baking soda solution.
4. Dental Exam
A thorough dental examination occurs simultaneously while your dentist interviews you, cleans your teeth, and interprets the results of your dental X-ray. After which, he will also screen you for oral cancer. This is a visual examination of your oral tissues, and jaw area. If there are abnormalities, your dentist will inform you about them, and whether there is a need to conduct further diagnostic tests.
The dentist will determine if you need further treatment for other oral health issues, and provide various courses of action to take for you to achieve better dental health.
Do not wait to experience severe pain or have bad breath before seeking a dentist. All these and more can be prevented if you just undergo a dental exam. Visiting your dentist is not that bad at all.