This portion of the exam can help your dentist determine if you have signs of oral cancer or other diseases. A thorough oral cancer screening can be completed in less than five minutes. Your dentist or hygienist will inspect the inside of your mouth for sores and white or red patches. He or she will feel the tissues of your mouth and neck to check for lumps, bumps or other irregularities. Your dentist will also be on the lookout for signs of:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular problems
- Immune abnormalities and cancers
- Sinus problems
Periodontal probing is a vital part of an exam. Your dentist wiill use an instrument that probes your gums to measure the size of pocket depths around each tooth. Deep pockets and significant gum recession could indicate that you have periodontal disease.
X-rays can help you avoid potential complications before they become problems. X-rays can assist your dentist with detecting decay and other problems with teeth and gums that are not visible during an exam.
Intraoral x-rays, which are taken inside the mouth, show the condition of your teeth, roots, and overall composition of your jaw and facial bones. Extraoral x-rays such as panoramic x-rays, are taken outside of the mouth and show the location of impacted teeth, bone irregularities, and teeth that have not yet completely developed.
Condition of Teeth & Restorations
Your dentist will closely examine each tooth and document existing reatment you have received, such as fillings, crowns and root canals. He or she will also examine your teeth for signs of deterioration due to cavities,fractures, abnormal bite, teeth grinding or TMJ.
After a thorough dental exam and evaluation of your teeth, your dentist will discuss the condition of your mouth, and if needed, explain recommended treatment. Visiting the dentist every six months for a dental exam can help detect problems before they start and keep you smiling for years to come.