COMPONENTS OF A ROUTINE EXAM:
- EVALUATION OF GUMS - checking for inflammation and proper oral hygiene
- PERIODONTAL EXAM - checking for periodontal pockets (deeper areas in the gums that may pose a problem for routine home care)
- RADIOGRAPHIC EXAM - x-rays taken periodically allow us to see structures and problems that are too small or inaccessible to the eye
- SOFT TISSUE EXAM - evaluation of other soft tissues in the oral cavity looking for abnormalities of growth or pathology of structures such as major and minor salivary glands, hard and soft palate, tongue, floor of the mouth, cheeks, back of throat and tonsils
- ORAL CANCER SCREENING - evaluation for early signs/changes of tissues in the mouth that may indicate precancerous or malignant lesions
- EVALUATION OF TEETH - looking for carious breakdown (cavities) and developmental defects which can be filled proactively to prevent cavities - also looking for excessive wear or breakdown of tooth structure indicating parafunctional occlusal problems due to poor alignment of teeth or habits such as clenching or grinding
- EVALUATION OF THE TMJ - looking for abnormalities of joint function, deviations in proper movement, noises in the joint, health and function of muscles used to chew food and provide all the other necessary functions of your mouth
- REVIEW OF MEDICAL HISTORY - often times, systemic medical issues and the treatment of those problems (medicines) can create imbalances that effect your teeth, gums or other components of the oral cavity
Preventive care entails thorough regular exams to fully evaluate the oral cavity. These exams focus on detecting any causative factors that may compromise the long term health of your teeth. Proper oral hygiene is evaluated and modified if necessary to be sure bacterial attack of the teeth and gums is held to a minimum. A thorough cleaning is then complete usually in one visit but may take more if advanced periodontal disease is diagnosed. Topical fluoride treatments are used regularly with children to help strengthen the enamel and improve resistance to tooth decay. Some adults can benefit from topical fluoride as well whether used regularly at home or periodically applied at the office.
Our preventive care services are the cornerstone of our dental care. As discussed in other areas of this website, most dental problems can be prevented or at least minimized if caught early. The earlier a problem is detected the simpler the solution can be to treat it. Simpler solutions equate to more conservative treatments which in the long term last the longest. The more natural tooth structure that you can maintain, the stronger your teeth will be. New dental materials are amazing, but we still can't replace the strength and integrity of a fully formed natural tooth.