A dental examination is a significant opportunity for a dentist to identify any early signs of problems. A routine examination for a regular attendee takes far less time than a new patient registration examination. This is because most dental problems when found early can be treated quickly and inexpensively.
Regular dental check-ups are important for your oral health
X-rays and scans
Dental decay is often challenging to see with the naked eye, so X-rays are used to see beneath the surface of the tooth along with checking for bone loss due to gum disease. X-rays in dentistry are very safe and usually have less radiation exposure than a short flight. You can also ask your dentist why the X-ray is being taken.
We have switched to digital X rays which means you can also see the images on a computer screen. The X-ray may be a full image of a single tooth, called a periapical or a collection of the side view of the back teeth, called bitewings, a full X-rays of the jaw and teeth is taken, called an OPG or OPT. Considering that the radiation risk is so low, having regular X-rays is an accurate way to spot dental problems.
We also use a CT Scanner; this builds up a 3D image of a segment of your Jaw or your whole mouth. CT Scans are used to determine the depth of bone as well as height, and this is vital information when undergoing complex treatment.
Sample 3D image from our CT scanner
Check for early signs of disease
Routinely dental decay between the teeth, underneath fillings or crowns is monitored. The dentist also checks the bone quality and quantity around the tooth because when gum disease has been present for some time and left untreated, it causes the bone that supports a tooth to start shrinking. This effect is irreversible and can even lead to tooth loss. This is the number one reason people lose teeth in the UK.
With oral cancer rates significantly rising, a dentist or hygienist will carefully check all of the linings of your mouth and tongue to check for signs of oral cancer and if necessary refer you to a specialist for further investigation.
Teeth grinding is particularly common these days and linked to stress as a cause. The wear effects on the teeth are irreversible, and the jaw can become permanently damaged if left untreated.
Oral health could be linked to overall health
Even though a dental check-up may appear a chore it can potentially save you thousands of pounds in more expensive treatments – and even save your life! There is more and more scientific evidence emerging about the link between oral health and your overall health. At the end of a checkup, your dentist will inform you how long you should wait before the next check-up. This decision is based on your risk factors and can range from 3 months through to a year. Children need more regular visits than an adult generally.
5 things a dentist checks for:
Book your dental appointment today
Dental Hygienists and therapists are increasingly taking a role in dental check-ups and will continue to do so over the coming years.
At the end of your check-up appointment, if any further treatment is required, a written plan of treatment will be made. This outlines costs, a number of visits and details of the treatment. If you agree to the treatment after understanding the risks and benefits, then you will be asked to sign the treatment plan before any active treatment begins. Should there be any changes required to the plan then a new treatment plan will be drawn up.
Some people feel that a dentist visit is only required when they experience a dental problem, this can result in small issues developing into much, larger and more expensive issues, perhaps its time you make a dental appointment today?