What is involved with a Dental Oral exam?

Regular dental visits allow your dental team to monitor your oral health.  These dental exams not only check for tooth decay and gum health but also examine your entire mouth. Checking the soft tissues of your mouth including the tongue, inside of the lips and cheeks and the floor and roof of the mouth is very important.  The oral exam may involve some of the following:

  • A complete or partial set of dental x-rays (digital)
  • Photographs
  • Gum (periodontal) measurements or probing
  • Oral cancer screening (The five-year survival rate is as low as 60%)
  • Analysis of patient jaw joints and chewing muscles

What can Dental Cleanings do for you?

Scheduling regular dental visits at least twice a year is recommended for most patients.  These cleanings or check-ups can help…

  • Prevent cavities
  • Stop tooth loss
  • Brighten your smile
  • Freshen your breath
  • Boost your overall health
  • Save money

Why do I need Dental X-rays?

Dental x-rays are a valuable tool of dental treatment because they can detect damage to teeth and bone not visible when just looking in your mouth.  X-rays can show the condition of your teeth, their roots, jaw issues and the overall make up of your facial bones.  X-rays can help determine the presence or degree of gum disease, cavities, abscesses and many abnormal growths, such as cysts and tumors.  They also can show the exact location of impacted teeth and teeth that have not yet fully developed.

Different types of x-rays give your dentist an overview of different parts of your mouth.

  • Panoramic x-rays show your dentist a general comprehensive view of your entire mouth on a single large film.
  • Bitewing x-rays show a detailed image of a smaller area, revealing decay or cavities between teeth.
  • Periapical x-rays show a detailed image of the entire tooth, including the roots. These are helpful with evaluating a tooth’s root structure and bone level and also can detect cysts and abscesses.

Our team is sensitive to patients’ concerns about radiation.  That is why our office uses state-of-the-art digital x-rays technology, which minimizes your exposure to radiation.

Am I a candidate for Tooth Whitening/Bleaching?

Almost anyone whose permanent teeth have come in can qualify for tooth whitening.  Your dental team will be able to assess your oral health and recommend a treatment best for you.  You will first be advised to have a professional cleaning to remove external staining caused by food, drinks and tobacco. Further treatment may include:

  • Using a whitening toothpaste
  • Bleaching with a take-home kit (from you dental office)
  • Avoid stain-causing foods and beverages such as tea, coffee, red wine, dark berries
  • Quit smoking

Teeth that are yellow respond best to bleaching.  Brown or gray teeth, or teeth striped or mottled from tetracycline or too much fluoride, may not whiten evenly when bleached.  In these instances, tooth-colored fillings, crown, caps or bonding may be the treatment of choice.