Regular visits to a general dentist are an essential component of good health and overall wellness. It is important for both adults and children to have their teeth cleaned and examined by a dental professional every six months. In fact, most physicians and dentists recommend that regular dental checkups begin around age one, when a…
What a General Dentist Looks for During Your Dental Exam
When you visit a general dentist for a dental checkup, it is not only about your teeth. Continue reading to know what happens during a checkup. Your oral health is crucial to your overall health. What happens in the mouth might reveal many things about the whole body.
What happens during a dental exam by a general dentist
The general dentist will typically proceed to do an oral exam after a hygienist has cleaned the patient’s teeth during the dental appointment. To examine for cavities and tooth damage, the dentist utilizes a special mirror and a dental probe. Gum disease, oral cancer, issues with the bite or jaw, and any symptoms of inflammation or bleeding will all be checked by the dentist.
A regular dental examination consists of the following:
Oral cancer screening
The dental exam should include a check for oral cancer. Oral cancer is a severe condition. When discovered early, however, the condition is typically treatable. The dentist will examine the lips, gums, and tongue, and the insides of the cheeks and roof of the mouth for indications of oral cancer. A red or white area, pain, or a lump are potential signs of oral cancer.
Using a mirror, the dentist will also check regions such as the back of the tongue. To simplify the process of viewing and feeling lumps, the dentist may use a gauze pad to shift the tongue to the side. The patient should report any oral pain, difficulty chewing or swallowing, bite changes, or oral bleeding to the dentist.
Check for gum disease
Every dental exam will include a check for early stages of gum disease, known as gingivitis. This dental health issue might be the result of not flossing or brushing properly. It can, however, be a symptom of an inflammatory illness, such as diabetes. If left untreated, gum disease can cause bone loss and, eventually, tooth loss.
The dentist will examine the patient’s gums for signs of gum disease, such as redness or swelling. In addition, they may use a tiny instrument between teeth and gums to see if the gums peel away from the teeth or bleed easily. Bad breath, a foul taste, or loose teeth are all potential signs of gum disease.
The neck and jaw joints
A part of the dental examination occurs outside the mouth. For example, a lump behind the jaw might suggest a swollen or clogged salivary gland. Swollen lymph nodes beneath the jaw and around the neck can be a symptom of infection or malignancy. The dentist will check the temporomandibular joints (TMJ), which connect the lower jaw to the skull. The dentist may ask patients to open and close their mouth while placing their fingers on the joints. TMJ disease can cause clicking, popping, or discomfort. TMJ disorder can be the result of an incorrect bite, teeth grinding, or arthritis.
The bottom line
Patients of all ages can benefit from comprehensive dental checkups. The dentist will discuss any concerns you may have, answer questions, and put together a treatment plan for a healthy smile during your appointment.
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