Why are regular dental exams critical for your oral health?
What is a dental exam?
A dental exam is an overall examination of your oral health which includes teeth cleaning. It is probably the most common type of dental procedure which one should undergo, intermittently.
Other components of dental exams include x-rays, checking up on existing restorative work, screening for oral cancer (sometimes), examining for tooth decay, screening for gum diseases, checking up your oral health history again etc.
Many-a-time, patients confuse dental cleaning with dental exams, but it is important to know that cleaning is only one component of dental exams.
What happens during the cleaning procedure?
Your hygienist will start with looking around your mouth with a small mirror. Then, the hygienist starts with removing plaque and tartar from your teeth. The more the tartar buildup, the more time will it take to scrape it from your mouth. Therefore, this is a reminder to brush and floss twice daily.
This is followed by thorough teeth cleaning with toothpaste and an electronic brush. This way, tartar is removed from the hidden and deepest grooves and pits of your mouth. Then you will be up for some professional flossing to get rid of any food particle that the cleaning would not have removed.
Next, your hygienist will ask you to rinse your mouth with liquid fluoride to get rid of the debris.
The last step is, typically, the fluoride treatment which is done to make sure that your teeth are away from decay and are protected for several months. A foamy gel is applied on a mouthpiece which is fitted on your teeth and left for one minute.
After this is removed, a fluoride varnish is painted over your teeth. All of this is done, to provide that extra care and protection to your teeth.
Why is it important?
Dental exam is not just an examination of your oral health, but also your overall health. Signs and symptoms of many diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and diabetes show up in the mouth first. If your dentist or hygienist sees something which could point to a different issue, they will refer you to a suitable doctor immediately.
Also, this session gives your dentist a chance to stay on top of your oral health so they can identify oral health problems at an early stage when they are most treatable.