Brushing and flossing every day, along with regular dental cleanings, are key elements to keeping your mouth healthy. However, it is still possible for issues to occur, even with proper care. Moreover, when issues go unnoticed and untreated, they tend to get worse, creating significant health problems. At National Dental Hicksville, we can help to prevent serious issues with oral exams.
What is an Oral Exam?
An oral exam is one in which we examine all areas of your mouth. We typically recommend that you have at least two per year, done during the same appointment as your dental cleaning. During your exam, we inspect your teeth for any signs of damage (chips or fractures) and tooth decay or cavities. We also inspect your gums, looking for any signs of gum disease, including redness, swelling, and gum recession. The exam is designed for us to spot any areas of concern, no matter how small, so that we can take immediate action to prevent them from becoming worse.
Types of Dental Exams
There are several different types of oral exam:
- Periodic oral exam: A periodic exam is your regular six-month checkup. We look over your mouth, checking for issues, and update the information from your previous visit.
- Comprehensive oral exam: A comprehensive exam is a thorough exam that is usually performed when you come in for your first visit. It is also done when you have not been seen in quite some time. This type of exam often involves the use of X-rays.
- Limited oral exam: A limited exam is one that is performed when we are trying to diagnose the cause of certain symptoms. X-rays are often taken during this exam.
- Follow up exam: A follow-up exam is one that is performed following treatment. It is designed to make sure that you are responding well to the treatment provided.
Performing Your Dental Exam
We begin your oral exam with an inspection of the visible structures within your mouth. With the help of an intraoral camera, we inspect your teeth for signs of damage and decay. Any restorations will be looked at to ensure they are in good condition. We look at your gums for signs of gum disease. We will then check the other tissues within your mouth (your tongue, cheeks, palate and the entrance to your throat) for anything unusual. We also inspect outside your mouth as well, looking at your jaw for alignment and your face and neck for any unusual swelling. Checking the other tissues inside your mouth, as well as looking at your face and neck is part of the oral cancer screening we perform at every routine exam.
After we inspect your mouth, we will then ask you a series of questions regarding your brushing habits, as well as your lifestyle habits. We can provide you with tips on how to improve your oral hygiene at home, as well as answer any questions that you may have.
The Importance of X-Rays
X-rays are not performed during every exam, but they are an essential part of your oral healthcare record. Digital X-rays provide us with a unique look at the structures of your mouth that we cannot ordinarily see, such as between your teeth and below your gum line. We can also monitor changes in the health of your jawbone, and provide treatment as soon as any issues are noticed.
Dental exams give us the ability to assess the health of your mouth and take action immediately when a problem is found. Contact National Dental Hicksville at (516) 629-5086 to schedule your exam today.