Routine Dental Care
Routine dental exams are important for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Additionally, they can help you avoid any financial costs that come from problems that worsen over time resulting in more expensive problems later on.
The Academy of General Dentistry recommends checkups twice per year for people of all ages. At this frequency, most problems can be caught while they remain in an early stage.
What to Expect at Your Exam
The dentist first examines your mouth visually, using dental equipment such as mouth mirrors, dental picks, and high-intensity lights.
They will review:
- Medical history: The dentist will assess how any new medical conditions or illnesses may affect your dental health.
- Examination of tooth decay: Your mouth will be checked for cracked or decayed teeth.
- Oral cancer screening: The face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums will be checked for any signs of oral cancer.
- Gum disease evaluation: Your gums and bone around the teeth will be checked for any evidence of periodontal disease.
- Examination of existing restorations: Current fillings, crowns, and other restorations are made sure to be in good order.
Digital X-rays provide several advanced imaging options designed to save time, provide clearer dental photos, and expose patients to less radiation than with traditional X-ray technology.
We have the skills and tools to ensure that early signs and symptoms of oral cancer and precancerous conditions are identified. While these symptoms may be caused by other, less serious problems, it is very important to visit our office to rule out the possibility of oral cancer.
Oral Cancer Symptoms
The most common symptoms of oral cancer include:
- Red or white spots or sores anywhere in the oral cavity
- A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal
- A lump, thickening, or rough spot
- Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
Oral Cancer Screenings
Our team is trained to give a simple, quick screening that involves an examination of your oral cavity as a whole, and not just your teeth, to detect cancerous and precancerous conditions. Besides a visual examination of your mouth, we will also feel the tissue of your mouth and throat to detect any abnormalities. If we find an area of concern, we may perform a simple test, such as a brush test, which collects cells from a suspicious lesion in the mouth to be sent to a laboratory for analysis. If this test comes back atypical or positive, we may recommend a biopsy.
Prevent Oral Cancer
Aside from receiving an oral cancer screening during your checkup at our office, there are many things you can do to help prevent oral cancer:
- Avoid all tobacco products and only drink alcohol in moderation.
- Maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
- Limit exposure to the sun and always wear UV-A/B-blocking, sun-protective lotions on skin and lips.
During your next dental appointment, ask your dentist to perform an oral exam. Early detection of oral cancer can improve the chances of successful treatment.
Our staff will carefully clear your mouth of any plaque and tartar deposits — we will polish your teeth to perfection and floss thoroughly. We generally perform cleanings in conjunction with an overall examination to ensure your mouth is looking its best.
Neglecting your at home and professional oral hygiene routine could result in periodontal disease that can require additional care and costs. Keeping up-to-date with your oral hygiene is your best defense!
brushing: step 1
Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gum
brushing: step 2
Brush gently in a circular motion.
brushing: step 3
Brush the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of each tooth.
brushing: step 4
Use the tip of your brush for the inner surface of your front teeth.
flossing: step 1
flossing: step 2
flossing: step 3
flossing: step 4
Slide the floss up and down, repeating for each tooth.