While we know the benefits of routine dental exams – including checking the health of your teeth, gums, and jaw – many people seem not to realize the importance of visiting us regularly. Dental exams are vital to not only prevent tooth decay but also gives us an opportunity to check for periodontal disease, look closer into any complaints of unusual pain in your mouth, and even help prevent infection and cancer. We here at Ranches Family Dental advise that you have a dental exam every six months, complete with a cleaning and a thorough inspection of your teeth and soft tissue to ensure the maintenance and preservation of your oral health.
What to Expect During Your Dental Exam
Every dental exam is unique and custom tailored to the chief complaint (what brought you through our office doors) of our patients. However, even though a few aspects of your appointment may be specific to your health and questions, there are a few things that you could expect to occur during your dental exam.
When you come to our office, you can expect the following things to happen:
First and foremost, we’ll ask you questions about your health and if there are any concerns that we need to know about. If it’s your first time with us, we’ll gather your medical history to help us diagnose you and customize your treatment. We’ll then proceed with a thorough examination of your mouth. This includes checking your teeth and taking x-rays of your bitewings (generally recommended every two to three years) to determine if you have any tooth decay. We’ll also check the health of your gums to ensure that you have no gum disease, which is typically indicated by swelling, receding, or bleeding gums. Many patients are surprised to learn that we also check for oral cancer, too!
Next, we’ll start your cleaning. This usually involves scaling and polishing to help remove any tartar buildup. We’ll also floss your teeth, and during this part of your exam, you may hear us ask if you floss regularly. If you’re not staying on top of your flossing, you may notice a small amount of blood during the flossing. This is normal. If we notice early signs of tooth decay, we may advise a fluoride treatment to prevent it from getting worse.
After we complete your history, your initial examination, your x-rays and your cleaning, we’ll then sit down with you to discuss any findings that we encountered during your exam. This is called the “consultation” and involves a recommended treatment plan for any concerns that were brought up during the exam. If you have tooth decay, we may advise having them cleaned and filled. Any gum disease, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, or other health problems, will also be addressed at this point. If you have any other questions for us, please feel free to ask them. We are always happy to answer them for you!
A routine dental exam is nothing to be afraid of, but we understand when our patients may be feeling shy or avoiding us. The fact is, though, that a dental exam is highly important to take care of your health. Gum disease, for instance, can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or even death. Neglecting your oral health can be quite dangerous. If you’re ready to schedule your appointment, please give us here at Ranches Family Dental a call at (385) 374-0500 to schedule your exam and cleaning.