A routine oral exam is performed on established patients to determine any changes in dental and health status since the previous visit.
New patients receive a comprehensive examination which includes a screening for oral cancer, gum and bone disease, blood pressure, and systemic disorders. A routine oral exam is performed on established patients to determine any changes in dental and health status since the previous visit.
Your gum tissue is measured with a fine instrument ruler to calibrate in millimeters pocket depth between the tooth and the connective gum tissue around the tooth. Pocket depths more than 4 millimeters could indicate disease and infection. The deeper the pocket, the greater the extent plaque bacteria collects and infection in gum disease develop.
X-rays are taken as needed.
Tooth scaling and root planing occur as needed.
Routine cleanings also include a professional polishing (Prophy) that removes only the soft sticky plaque that is above the gum line.
Oral Cancer Screening
During every dental checkup, we will visually check and feel around for any signs of oral cancer. We check for signs of visible lesions inside the mouth and gently feel around the jaw for any lumps or swelling that may be present. Many early signs of oral cancer can go unnoticed by people as they go about their daily lives but we want to make sure that your overall oral health is in as best condition as possible when you see us for a dental checkup.
Our office uses the latest in digital x-ray technology. Digital x-rays offer a detailed image of your entire mouth and also offer up to 80% less radiation than traditional film x-rays.
X-rays play an invaluable role in the diagnosis of dental problems, as well as provide a clear picture for a dentist to accurately diagnose and provide the necessary treatment.
We place a small sensor in your mouth. The sensor is connected to a computer by a thin wire. Next, an x-ray beam is sent through your teeth and into the sensor, which records the image of your teeth and sends it to the computer. The sensor can then be repositioned to image other sections of your teeth.
The digital dental x-ray system is more sensitive than dental x-ray film systems, so your exposure to x-rays is cut by as much as 90 percent. The large and color-enhanced images let you see what your dentist sees, so it's easier for you to understand how your dentist will treat your teeth. Your dental checkups take less time, and it's fun to watch this system work! Most patients are amazed.
Removing Plaque & Tartar With A Teeth Cleaning
As time goes by, plaque that is allowed to sit on your teeth eventually hardens into bacteria harboring tartar. Tartar reacts with the foods you eat and leads to tooth decay. Not only that, the bacteria in tartar can start to smell and is a common cause of bad breath.
During your dental checkup, we use a special tooth scaling tool that is used to effectively remove the hard build-up of tartar. This process is most commonly known as tooth scaling. Scaling will remove tartar build-up on the front and back surfaces of your teeth, just above the gum-line. Sometimes, we may detect tartar working its way below the gum line. In these cases, root planing, also known as a deep cleaning is necessary to remove this tartar from the tooth's root.
Rough tooth surfaces are exactly what plaque loves to grab hold of and start hardening into harmful tartar. After your teeth have been thoroughly cleaned, we will use a special tooth polishing tool and a flavored polishing compound to polish your pearly whites. Tooth polishing effectively smooths tooth surfaces making it difficult for plaque to grab on to. After tooth polishing, you will be able to tell a difference with how smooth your teeth feel, as well as visibly see that they're looking their best.
Fluoride, a substance that's found naturally in water, plays an important role in healthy tooth development and cavity prevention.
Fluoride combats tooth decay in two ways:
- It strengthens tooth enamel, a hard and shiny substance that protects the teeth, so that it can better resist the acid formed by plaque.
- Fluoride allows teeth damaged by acid to repair, or re-mineralize, themselves.
Fluoride cannot repair cavities, but it can reverse low levels of tooth decay and thus prevent new cavities from forming.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that these fluoride supplements be given daily to children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years. The dosage will change as your child grows. Only children living in non-fluoridated areas or children who drink only non-fluoridated bottled water should receive supplements.
Most children get the right amount of fluoride through a combination of fluoridated toothpaste and fluoridated water or supplements. Too much fluoride before 8 years of age can cause enamel fluorosis, a discoloration or mottling of the permanent teeth. This condition is unsightly but harmless and often can be treated with cosmetic procedures.