Why Should I Have a dental exam?
Many health problems aren’t obvious or painful until their later stages, when treatment is more complicated and expensive and leaves our health in a less-than-ideal state. Think of regular dental exams as a ‘physical’ for your mouth. Many common health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease and even cancer do not become evident until they are in an advanced state. We can detect problems such as cavities, gum disease and even oral cancer in their earliest stages, allowing them to be treated quickly, conservatively and inexpensively. An examination provides personalized information and advice about your health and is one of the most cost-effective and valuable services available.
How Often Should I Get a Dental Exam?
How often you have an exam depends on your history and risk level for problems. For many adults who are generally healthy, a yearly dental examination is adequate. If you have had more dental problems in your past, take medications or have other health conditions that increase your risk of dental problems, every six months may be more beneficial. As we believe periodontal (gum) health is very important, a periodontal examination is performed as part of every preventive and maintenance cleaning. Oregon’s children have high rates of dental decay and their teeth and jaws are still growing, so we recommend children have an examination every six months.
What Can I Expect at a Dental Exam?
At a typical dental exam, we will check the soft tissues of your jaws, lips, cheeks and tongue. We screen for signs of oral cancer and any systemic conditions that may appear in the mouth. We evaluate your bite relationship, your jaw joints and muscles, the amount of wear on your teeth and any dental appliances you may wear. We check the health of your tooth enamel and roots and the fit and integrity of any fillings, crowns, bridges and dental implants. X-rays may be taken to provide a more detailed picture of your oral health and structures not visible below the gumline. We’ll discuss the results of your exam in terms that are easy to understand.
How Can I Prepare For a Dental Exam?
Write down any special concerns or questions you have about your oral health. If you are taking medications or over-the-counter supplements, please bring a list of them as they can affect our dental health. Bring the names of any medications or products you have allergies or sensitivity to. We will ask you to complete a medical history so we can treat you safely. If you currently wear any current dental appliances such as dentures or a nightguard, please bring them.