When you visit your dentist twice a year, the purpose is usually twofold. The first is to have your teeth professionally cleaned by a dental hygienist. The second is to have the dentist examine your teeth and gums, and look for signs of decay and disease. If you know exactly what the goals of your dentist are during the examination, perhaps you will better understand the importance of the biannual appointments.
A comprehensive oral examination usually checks for the following:
- Using a handheld light and a special small mirror, your dentist will examine your gums from all angles. He may also use a small probe to check the depth of the pockets between the top edges of your gums and your teeth. Pockets that are too deep can indicate periodontal disease.
- Your dentist will also check your gums for signs of bleeding and inflammation, which can also be symptoms of periodontal disease.
- Bad breath is often a sign of decay or infection and is usually caused by the presence of excess bacteria in the mouth. You dentist will check your teeth and gums to see whether bacteria, plaque, and decay are increasing.
- Sometimes halitosis is a warning sign of a more serious condition such as taste disorders, amelogenesis, Dentinogenisis imperfecta, oral cancer, Siogren's syndrome, and TMJ disorders. Your dentist can give you a preliminary diagnosis and send you to your doctor for further testing.
- After the dental hygienist cleans your teeth, your dentist will look for any remaining plaque, calcium deposits (called calculus or tartar), and decay. He may decide to further clean the calcified area with a scaler or drill the decayed area in an effort to keep the decay from spreading. If the dentist has to drill into your tooth, he will fill it with dental amalgam, composite resin, or gold.
- Loose teeth may have to be pulled and each one replaced with a bridge or dental implant.
After the examination, your dentist will suggest a course of treatment.
- First of all, he may offer advice on brushing, and point out to you specific teeth that need more attention to prevent plaque buildup.
- Sometimes, you can have a tooth filled during that same appointment, but more often than not you will have to make one or more new appointments to treat your dental problems.
- A special mouthwash or toothpaste may be recommended to combat the bacteria that causes Halitosis.
Visiting the dentist twice a year is a very worthwhile investment of your time and money. It gives you the opportunity to get a thorough examination that will find and deal with dental problems before they become too damaging or even irreversible. Need more help? Contact a company like Barrhaven Robinson Dental Care with your questions and concerns.