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What the Dentist Looks at During a Dental Exam

Image of smiling patient looking at the dentist

Semi-annual dental exams are crucial to not only your oral health, but your physical health too. The exam itself involves more than looking at the surface of your teeth; your gums, bite, tongue, cheeks, neck, lymph nodes and jaw joints will also be evaluated. Each of these areas plays a vital role in keeping your oral and physical health in check, which is why they are an important part of the exam. During your appointment, be prepared to discuss any recent health issues that you have experienced as well as any medications that you are taking to ensure that everything is covered during your exam.

Checking for Cancer

Every part of the dental exam is important, but the exam that is performed to detect any signs of oral cancer is imperative. The exam requires the dentist to inspect your neck, lymph nodes, jaw area, inside your cheeks and under your tongue. Your mouth is inspected for any type of lesions, bumps or other extraordinary spots that need a closer inspection. If there are any areas that you are concerned about yourself, make sure to point them out during this portion of your exam.

Checking for Gum Disease

Gum disease is another serious illness that you could be experiencing in your mouth that could cause serious ramifications on your overall health. As many as 12 percent of adult Americans are affected by gum disease, making it a prevalent disease to worry about. Unfortunately, gum disease does not always present symptoms right away, which is why allowing the dentist to examine your gums is essential. If there are swollen gums, excessively sized gum pockets or bleeding with any pressure put on your teeth, then gum disease could be the reason. If gum disease is left untreated, it could eventually lead to tooth loss, heart conditions and diabetes.

Checking the Structure of Your Teeth

An important step in the dental exam is the full mouth x-rays that are taken at least once per year. These in depth pictures allow the dentist to have a good look inside your mouth, beyond what can be seen with the naked eye. In addition to looking for tumors or cancerous cells, he will inspect the structure of your teeth to determine if any shifting has occurred or even if there is any decay that he cannot see during the manual exam.

The earlier that we are able to detect any issues with your mouth, the easier treatment will be and the fewer side effects that you will have to suffer as a result. If you do not have your semi-annual checkup and cleaning scheduled, give us a call today!

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