Dental exams are used to prevent dental health issues from either occurring or worsening over time. Our staff at Roth Family Dentistry performs an exam every time you come in for an appointment in order to check for cavities, periodontitis (gum disease), and other ailments related to your oral health. If oral health problems are left untreated, they can cause serious health issues over time. Therefore, our number one goal is to ensure we identify and treat any existing issues.
How Are Dental Exams Performed?
Our team of professionals will perform a dental exam in a variety of ways, depending on the reason for your checkup. If you are coming in for your biannual cleaning, we will manually inspect the teeth for any damage. Once a year, we will take x-rays of your mouth to obtain a more detailed look at your teeth. We will also conduct several tests if you are coming in for a checkup after having surgery performed on your teeth. Each test will vary slightly in the technique our staff uses to ensure optimal oral health.
Dental Exams During a Cleaning
When you come in for a cleaning, you will be directed to a room with a large dental chair. This is the area where you will sit while you have your cleaning performed. An experienced staff member will come in, turn on a bright light, and begin inspecting your teeth. He or she will use a mouth mirror to evaluate your teeth, including your back molars and other hard-to-see areas in your mouth.
After an initial examination, your teeth will be checked with an explorer. This tool is used to check for any signs of periodontitis, check for cavities, and explore any pockets in your teeth. A mouth mirror will be used to help move your tongue and cheeks out of the way. It will also be handy for our staff to ensure all areas of your teeth are being cleaned properly, especially areas that are difficult to reach.
Next, we will use a scaling device. This will remove deposits of plaque and tartar (hardened plaque), which can cause periodontitis (gum disease) to start or progress farther. Depending on the severity of your plaque and tartar buildup, our staff will either choose this device or a water scaler after using the explorer.
X-ray Dental Exams
Dental x-rays help identify problems that would otherwise go unnoticed by a physical examination. We perform x-rays once a year for most patients, which allows us to identify bone loss, cavities, gum disease, and any abnormalities in your mouth, neck, or throat region.
To perform this, we will place a lead apron over your chest to prevent any unnecessary radiation exposure to your body. We will then ask you to bite down on a paper or plastic mouthpiece to begin the x-ray process. An imaging device is then placed around the outside of your mouth before our professional, who will be standing behind a protective area or shield, will begin taking the pictures. You will usually have four pictures taken. However, the number will vary depending on your oral health.
Several types of x-rays may be performed. The most common is either a full-mouth series, which looks at your full oral health, or just bitewing x-rays, which focus on looking at cavities between your teeth. However, the x-rays you will need depend heavily on the oral issues you are experiencing.
If you require a dental exam, our professional staff at Roth Family Dentistry can help you. We will investigate your charts to see what type of exams you have had previously and when you last had them performed. We will also look at your general oral health throughout the years to help determine what type of exam will currently be best for you. Contact us today at 406-728-2745 to schedule an appointment.