Dental examinations are one of those things that everyone knows they need, but very few people are ever excited to receive. In fact, it’s not uncommon for people to go years – and in some cases, decades – without a dental checkup. For many patients it’s just something they don’t think about until they find themselves experiencing some sort of pain or discomfort or other symptom such as bleeding. For others, the idea of dental examinations causes a legitimate sense of dread and anxiety which makes a visit almost impossible. Even patients who see their dentist regularly can find themselves dealing with a sense of dread associated with a visit.
Cadena Family Dentistry uses our years of experience to help calm our patients and address any concerns they may have. We treat each patient as an individual, taking the time to thoroughly examine and recommend a course of action with each visit. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends dental exam with X-rays at least once a year.
During your exam, you can expect to be seen by the dentist and/or a dental hygienist. They will likely begin by taking a detailed history. For some patients, it may seem odd that your dentist would ask about past diseases, conditions, and medications that you may be taking, but we assure you this information is necessary. It is important that you answer as thoroughly and honestly as possible. There are some conditions or medications that cause or exacerbate problems within the teeth and gums or may make healing from any procedures more lengthy and difficult.
After your history is taken, we move in to the physical portion of the examination. If you have any pain or an immediate area of concern, please make sure to tell us immediately. The purpose of the general exam is, essentially, to provide a thorough inspection of your mouth. Many people assume dentists only concern themselves with your teeth, but that is not the case. We will thoroughly assess the health of your teeth, gums, tongue and inside of your mouth.
One of the first steps in that assessment is to check and rate each tooth. This is normally done with two people present. One person will quickly check each tooth with a small tool, looking for any obvious cavities or fissures as well as the level of your gums. We are looking for signs of infection or concern such as areas where the gums may be receding from the tooth, areas of swelling or where you bleed easily, small cracks in the tooth or any lesions.
Here at Cadena Family Dentistry, we use x-rays as a standard portion of our dental examinations. We may use focused film x-rays to look at a certain tooth or group of teeth. We may also employ the use of a digital panoramic x-ray to get a view of what is happening through the entire mouth. Both forms of x-ray allow us a more in depth view of what is going on.
As dental professionals, x-rays help us spot any signs of disease or decay that are not obvious in our surface examination. Areas like the inner tooth, the jawbone, the spaces between teeth, areas under the gum line and around fillings are all difficult to see clearly without X rays.