Dental Exams– regular scheduled exams are essential to your dental health. A complete medical and dental history (for new patients and updated information for current patients), visual checks by the dentist and hygienist are performed for signs of plaque, tartar, tooth decay, infection, tooth fractures, and gum disease and examination to your neck, face, and mouth for abnormalities/cancer. Education on diet and oral hygiene habits, proper brushing and flossing, and discussing and making goals (collaboration with patients) on possible cosmetic improvements and/or any restorative treatment that may be needed. If you no longer have teeth it continues to be important for regular dental exams to ensure healthy gums and usefulness of replacement teeth.
Dental X-rays– are safe, effective, and a very useful tool when determining your oral health. Damage and disease such as tooth decay, cavities, infections, periodontal disease, status of growth and development of teeth (children) and other diagnosis are detected with x-rays that a are not visible with an exam. Determining problems early before symptoms are present and have progressed is the key to prevention. If you are a new patient the dentist may recommend x-rays for a baseline status to help identify changes that may occur later. If a previous dentist has current dental radiographs, your new dentist can help you forward them the office. The American Dental Association recommends that check-up x-rays are taken once a year and a full mouth series of x-rays once every three years for a complete and thorough exam.
If you are pregnant tell your dentist. You may need x-rays while you are pregnant as part of your treatment plan. Use of the lead apron and thyroid collar will help protect your fetus from any radiation exposure. Dental x-rays do not have to wait if you are trying pregnant or are breastfeeding.