Going to the dentist may not be your favorite pastime. But a routine dental exam isn’t something you want to skip. The consequences can range from a less-than-appealing smile to more serious health consequences like gum disease. If you’re unfamiliar with common types of dental exams and why they’re important, you’re about to get the information you need.
You see, maintaining good oral health is just as important as regularly exercising. If you’re searching for a reliable dentist in Elkin, NC for your dental exams, our staff can help keep your smile in tip-top shape. Let’s explore why sitting in a dentist’s chair can lead to better health for you and your teeth.
Why Are Dental Exams Important?
So, why do you need to keep scheduling your dental exam appointments? Well, when you don’t, there’s no way for dentists to inspect your gums and teeth. During an exam, a dentist checks the condition of both.
They’re looking for symptoms and signs of disease, like inflamed or receding gums. A dentist may also check for bone loss, especially if you have a family history of oral health issues. But most importantly, they’re looking for cavities, plaque or tartar build-up, and jaw function.
An exam is an opportunity to prevent and spot issues before they become harder to treat. For example, a small cavity is easier to fix with a filling versus a larger one that requires an inlay.
Plus, for you, there’s less drilling and potential anxiety. Major bonus.
If you’re still asking yourself, “Why are dental exams important?”, think about how you’d eat if you lost a tooth. Or you had a painful toothache you couldn’t get rid of with even the strongest over-the-counter meds. Your eating and sleeping habits would suffer, impacting how well your body and mind function.
Get To Know the 3 Most Common Types of Dental Exams and What is Done for Them
Before you visit a dental clinic in Elkin, it’s natural to want to know what’s going to happen. Becoming familiar with the three most common types of dental exams and what is done for them can help reduce your fears. You’ll realize what to expect once your exam is underway.
1. Routine Checkups
Dentists usually schedule routine checkups for patients every six months. However, you may have shorter gaps between your checkups if you have an oral health condition. Say, for example, your dentist notices your gums are bleeding excessively during a cleaning – in this case, you may need more regular appointments to stay on top of potential oral issues.
They may want you to come in sooner for your next checkup following treatment for your symptoms. The reason is to monitor any symptom progression and see if treatment is effective. But typically, routine check ups involve cleaning your teeth and checking for signs of gum disease or cavities.
Once our dentists see the condition of your teeth and gums, they will remove excess plaque or tartar. A dental hygienist will professionally polish your chompers, followed by an old-fashioned floss. The hygienist or dentist may give you tips on improving your routine at home, such as using a water flosser for hard-to-reach areas.
If your dentist notices a problem, they’ll review treatment recommendations with you. For a cavity, they may ask if you want to take care of it the same day. Other types of remedies, including scaling, might require a future appointment.
The next time you’re in our dental clinic in Elkin, you may get a set of X-rays. Dental offices perform X-rays before routine checkups or to help diagnose a problem. A typical patient has X-rays done every six to 18 months.
If you’ve just had a root canal or are about to get braces, you may get more X-rays sooner. The images help catch issues dentists can’t spot with the naked eye. Examples include decay underneath fillings, bone loss, infections, and tiny cavities.
X-rays also capture images of your jaw and bite. The pictures guide recommendations for corrective appliances like retainers. Besides being a diagnostic tool, X-rays can show how you’re responding to treatments. Bone grafts and root canals are cases in point.
3. Oral Cancer Screenings and Gum Disease Evaluations
An oral cancer screening from our dentist in Elkin looks for indications you might have the disease. The goal is to spot it early enough to nip it in the bud. A sign of oral cancer can be an abnormal or suspicious lesion.
Your dentist may perform the screening during your regular checkup. Your risk of developing oral cancer may be higher if you’re a smoker or tobacco chewer. The same applies to people who get excessive exposure to UV rays. A history of oral cancer and heavy drinking also increases your risk.
Gum disease evaluations are another one of the types of dental exams. Our dentist may perform this before a six-month cleaning. They’ll check your gums for pocket depth. Smaller numbers mean healthier gums. Larger numbers can indicate gingivitis, disease, and bone loss that requires treatment.
Why Do I Need a Dental Exam Every 6 Months?
The answer to do I need a dental exam every six months is usually yes. For starters, routine cleanings remove tartar and plaque build-up from your teeth. You can’t do this at home with a store-bought toothbrush and toothpaste. Yep, even with the fancy brands.
The longer the build-up goes untouched, the higher your chances of developing cavities and gum problems. Second, checkups help your dentist monitor your oral health. If you skip your next appointment, it may be harder to treat an emerging condition.
Don’t wait until you’re asking, Do I need a dental exam? To get the treatment you need. The goal of preventative care is to keep your mouth and smile healthy.
Improve Your Smile With Dental Exams in Elkin, NC
Want to learn more before you come in? You can always contact us to ask questions about dental exams for new and existing patients. We’re here to help you be proactive about your oral health and improve your smile.