Dental exams provide your dentist with vital information about the health of your teeth and gums, including evaluating for infection, decay and even oral cancer. Having routine dental exams is the best way to spot these and other issues in their earliest stages so they can be treated, and it can also help identify serious health issues like obstructive sleep apnea and temporomandibular joint disorder that can be difficult to recognize based on symptoms alone.
Your exam will begin with a medical history to look for any health issues that could have an impact on your oral health, like the presence of diabetes, and to review any medications you may be taking which also could affect the health of your teeth and gums. You'll be asked about any symptoms you may be experiencing or other concerns you may have, and your teeth and gums will be visually examined. The dental hygienist will carefully clean your teeth, paying special attention to the areas between teeth and at the gum line where tartar, plaque and bacteria can collect. Once the cleaning is complete, you'll receive guidance on how to improve your brushing and flossing techniques as needed to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible between checkups. Dental x-rays may also be taken so we can see the structures below the gum line and examine the interiors of teeth. Finally, each tooth will be carefully examined and an oral cancer screening will be performed. Based on all this information, you'll receive care recommendations to address any issues that have been identified.
Ideally, you should have an exam every six months to check for any developing issues which can be more easily treated in their earliest stages.
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