Taking care of your mouth – brushing, flossing, and even professional cleanings – are all essential steps in preventing serious oral health issues. However, sometimes, issues can still occur. The problem is, when these issues are in their earliest stages, they are often unnoticed. The longer they go unnoticed and untreated, the worse they become. At National Dental Oakland Gardens, we can help to spot oral health problems with oral exams.
WHAT IS A DENTAL EXAM?
An exam is a simple procedure during which we inspect all of the structures within your mouth. With an exam, we are checking your teeth and gums for any signs of decay, disease or other damage. It is recommended that you have at least two regular exams every year, and they are often performed along with your dental cleaning. The idea behind oral exams is to spot oral health issues in their earliest stages so that we can take action to prevent them from becoming worse.
There are four types of oral exam:
- Periodic oral exams. This type of exam is your regular, routine exam. Performed about once every six months, we look at the structures in your mouth, looking for signs of trouble, and making any necessary updates to your information.
- Comprehensive oral exams. A comprehensive exam is performed when it is your first visit to our office, or if it has been a while since your last appointment. In most cases, we will take X-rays.
- Limited oral exams. Limited exams are performed when we are diagnosing the cause of specific symptoms. We may take X-rays during these exams.
- Follow up exams. A follow-up exam is performed following an oral treatment so that we can monitor your progress and make sure that you are responding.
WHAT DOES AN EXAM ENTAIL?
An oral exam begins with an inspection of the interior of your mouth. Using our intraoral camera, we visually scan your teeth for signs of damage and tooth decay. If you have any dental restorations (crowns, implants, bridges), we will examine them for signs of damage. Your gums will be checked for swelling and other signs of gum disease (such as periodontal pockets and gum recession). We will then check the other tissues within your mouth, including your tongue, cheeks, and palate.
Once we have finished inspecting the interior of your mouth, we will then check outside of your mouth. We will check your jaw for alignment. We will also check your face and your neck for signs of unusual swelling. This (along with checking the tissues inside your mouth) is part of your oral cancer screening that we perform at every exam.
After we have finished examining you, we will then discuss our findings with you. We will ask you questions about your oral hygiene habits, as well as any lifestyle habits you have (such as smoking or drinking). We can provide you with ways to improve your oral healthcare at home. This time can also be used to answer any questions or concerns that you might have.
Dental X-rays are an integral part of your oral health care plan. They allow us to see the structures that are hidden from view (between your teeth, the roots of your teeth, your jawbone). We can better monitor the health of your mouth and provide you with the best possible treatments when issues are found.
An oral exam is a crucial part of helping you to maintain optimal oral health. Contact National Dental Oakland Gardens at (718) 407-0574 to schedule yours today.