A routine dental checkup includes more than just a fancy cleaning and checking for cavities. Your dental exam is carried out by a skilled hygienist and board certified dentist who carefully and methodically evaluate your entire oral health. Here’s what to expect when you show up for your next six-month dental exam:
- Health History: We always ask about your general health, including any changes in your health history. This helps us identify any issues that may be causing dental-related symptoms and it also informs us on special precautions that should be taken during your cleaning.
- Evaluating Your Gum Health: Your hygienist monitors more than just your teeth. We perform a meticulous exam on your periodontal health as well. This includes checking for inflammation or redness in your gums that may signal early gum disease as well as monitoring any areas of gum recession.
- Cancer Screening: One step that we perform that you may not even be aware of is an oral cancer screening. We look at the soft tissues of your mouth and identify lumps, bumps, sores, tenderness or areas of swelling. We also use VELScope oral cancer screening technology that detects oral cancer at its earliest possible stage. The entire mouth is examined in just a few minutes, and it is totally painless for the patient.
- Cavity Check: A hygienist will examine all areas of your smile for areas of tooth decay. The dentist will follow up with areas of stains or hardened plaque and recommend a treatment plan.
- Scaling: Next, we will use hand tools and/or an ultrasonic scaler to remove calculus from your teeth. Remember these areas of hard mineral deposits are not removable with brushing and flossing at home.
- Polishing: A special high-powered mechanical polisher is used to polish the surface of your teeth. This allows patients to leave with a white, smooth and refreshed smile.
- Measuring: Did you know that your hygienist takes measurements inside your mouth during your routine exam? Periodontal disease develops by forming pockets between the teeth and gums. Therefore, we use small probes to measure this space and make sure it is less than 3mm. Pockets of 4 to 5mm can be an indication of gum disease. In such cases, we may recommend further treatment or extra care at home.
- X-Rays: On a periodic basis, we will also take x-rays of your teeth, gums and jaw. Our office uses digital x-rays that are faster and safer than traditional x-ray film.
- Education: We will conclude your appointment with a simple one-on-one discussion. It is at this time that Dr. Gilreath will explain the observed conditions of your dental health and listen to your specific concerns. If further treatment is recommended, we will educate you on what to expect.
- Making Your Next Appointment: Last but not least, we always provide a time that allows you to make your next dental appointment. This is helpful for busy patients that may forget or put off scheduling future cleaning appointments.
If you have further questions about what to expect at your routine dental checkup at Gilreath Family Dentistry, please give us a call. We know that by keeping patients well-informed about their dental care, we are able to greatly reduce associated anxiety and make the overall experience more enjoyable.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,