The Importance of Regular Dental Exams
By on June 07, 2014
No matter how you feel about dental visits, the experience is made substantially worse by hearing bad news about your mouth. Tooth decay, gingivitis, erosion: The announcement of any problems can lead to further frustration and potentially expensive treatment. However, the longer these problems persist, the worse their repercussions will be. By keeping your mouth healthy and regularly checking for any dental problems, you can avoid additional, extensive procedures.
Routine professional exams and cleanings should therefore be an integral part of everyone’s dental health. For more information on the benefits of regular exams, see the information outlined below by Clarksville dentist Richard Ribeiro.
Why Visit Your Dentist?
It is unfortunately a common misconception that dental problems are easily or immediately recognizable. Just because a tooth does not look or feel different does not mean that it is in perfect health. Problems very often begin within tooth enamel, away from the tooth’s nerves, or are too small to yet be detected within the dentin tissue. As a result, pain and discoloration can go unnoticed while decay spreads, leading to large cavities. Cavities may even spread to the roots of teeth before a patient has any indication that something is wrong, at which point root canal treatment and dental crowns will likely be needed to restore teeth.
A visit to your dentist can help abate this problem in two ways. First, a professional cleaning can remove plaque and hardened tartar that would otherwise be resistant to a regular toothbrush. Second, any cavities or disease can be detected through the technology and expert eye of a dental professional, allowing patients to treat a problem before it grows into a more severe complication.
What Does a Dental Exam Encompass?
When you visit our office for an exam, you benefit from comprehensive preventative care that ensures your teeth and gums are as healthy as possible. Standard services include:
- Digital X-rays: X-ray images are a staple of dental examinations, giving you and your dentist the ability to detect the early formation of decay. And with digital imaging, patients are exposed to much less radiation, they can see the results quicker, and each image is electronically archived for easy future access.
- Intraoral cameras: A small, intraoral camera allows a dentist to closely examine teeth and gums from every angle with clarity, while sharing these results with patients on a nearby screen.
- Visual inspection: Just by visually examining the condition of your teeth and gums, a dentist can tell a lot about your dental health. Dr. Ribeiro will be able to spot signs of gum disease, enamel erosion, abrasions, misalignment, chips, and any number of symptoms of a greater problem. The appropriate treatment can be recommended on the spot, giving patients an excellent opportunity to prevent future complications.
- Cancer screening: For older patients and those simply concerned with their overall health, a quick and painless cancer screening can be administered at any visit. Oral cancer is easily detectable and treatable during its early stages, giving patients an excellent reason to periodically check for signs of a problem.
In addition to the exam, a dental visit wouldn’t be complete without a professional cleaning, also known as a scaling and polishing procedure. During a cleaning, the dentist or dental hygienist will use a scaling tool to scrape away remnants of plaque and tartar from teeth and gums, which are primarily responsible for the growth of harmful bacteria. Following this, teeth will be polished to create a smoother surface, which discourages bacteria from adhering to tissue.
Aside from the obvious health benefits of keeping your teeth free of decay, a cleaning is an excellent opportunity to identify tooth or gum sensitivity, thus indicating the possible presence of a cavity or gum disease. When gum disease is a problem, we may recommend a deep cleaning to better prevent infection. This involves a similar procedure, but bacteria will also be cleaned out from within the gums to protect the underlying roots.
Schedule Your Next Visit
We recommend scheduling an exam and cleaning every six months, as this will provide the greatest protection against the early formation of disease and decay. Whenever you do decide to visit our office, we will provide you with a range of professional services to keep your smile strong and beautiful. Contact us to inquire further or to set up your next appointment.
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“Dr. Ribeiro has been my dentist for many years, and he has always provided exceptional service. His staff is very professional and courteous. They always go out of their way to ensure I have a pleasant experience.” Tina Reed