Dental exams are one of the most important preventive care services that you can receive. Dental exams help detect and prevent problems that could lead to tooth decay, gum disease, jawbone loss, and other oral health issues. The dentist will perform a thorough exam during your scheduled appointment to ensure that your dental health is in good standing.
Dental exams are a vital aspect of your oral health and should be performed regularly, ideally twice per year. During a dental exam, your dentist will check several parts of your mouth, including your teeth, gums, and tongue. They will also check for signs of periodontal disease, identify cavities and other tooth decay, observe the alignment of your teeth and gums, and check for oral cancer or other systemic issues that could be affecting your oral health.
What Is Included in a Dental Exam?
During a regular dental exam, the dentist will perform several different types of exams to ensure that you are maintaining good oral health.
The dentist will check for cavities using an intraoral camera to look for signs of decay. They may take digital X-rays to examine your teeth more closely and detect other signs of problems such as gum recession, bone loss, and tooth fractures. The dentist may also use an electronic sensor to measure the depth of your gums and assess the bone's health and thickness.
Your dentist will also perform a periodontal exam during your regular dental exam to check for gum disease. They will probe and palpate the gums to feel for any pockets or areas where bacteria have built up. This is known as probing. If they detect any areas of inflammation or pockets between your gums and teeth, they will take a small sample of gum tissue to examine under a microscope for signs of inflammation or infection.
The dentist may also probe underneath your tooth roots to feel for bone loss beneath them. Bone loss is a telltale sign of periodontal disease, so this exam is used to screen for early signs of tooth loss due to gum disease.
Checking Other Oral Health Issues
During a regular dental exam, the dentist will check for other signs of oral health issues that could be affecting your overall health or your ability to properly maintain good oral hygiene habits. They will listen for abnormal speech patterns or observe any abnormal growths on the inside of the cheeks or tongue. They may also order additional tests such as X-rays or blood tests if they suspect certain systemic conditions like heart disease or diabetes are affecting your oral health.