Having regular dental exams helps us catch problems early, when they are much easier, less painful and less expensive to treat.
Many dental diseases will not show symptoms or cause pain in the early stages. By the time you experience pain or swelling, the disease has already progressed. The frequency of your dental exam depends on your unique oral health needs, your general health and lifestyle factors.
Your First Appointment: When you see us for the first time, we will ask for your full medical history. Certain medical conditions and medications can affect your dental care and treatment. We will also ask about your dental health conditions, such as loose teeth, bleeding gums, sensitivity, clenching or grinding, tightness in your neck or jaw muscles. If you smoke or consume alcohol frequently, you may be at greater risk for certain types of oral cancer. If you’re pregnant, we may suggest postponing treatment for the duration of your pregnancy or we may recommend more frequent professional cleanings during your second or third trimester to help reduce the chance of developing gingivitis (gum disease). We will also ask about your family history of cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes, and any dental history of periodontal disease.
If you are nervous about going to the dentist, new technologies and processes have made dentistry more comfortable for patients. When you visit our office, we will reassure you and help you feel more relaxed and comfortable.
The Dental Exam: We will look in your mouth for things that can affect you overall oral health. Many of these things are not seen by the naked eye, but we are trained to detect. We look for damaged, missing or decayed teeth; early signs of cavities; condition of your gums; how existing dental work like root canals, fillings, and crowns are holding up; early signs of mouth or throat cancer, and other suspicious growths or cysts; signs of bleeding or inflammation on your tongue, roof or floor of your mouth; position of your teeth, such as spacing, bite; signs of clenching or grinding of your teeth; health and function of your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), and any pain or tenderness; and the general condition of the bones in your face, jaw and around your mouth. We may also include a check of your neck area for inflammation of the glands and lymph nodes. If necessary, we may take x-rays to verify cavities under existing fillings; fractures; impacted wisdom teeth; decay under your gum line; and bone loss caused by gum disease.
Oral Cancer Exam: Oral cancer starts in the cells of the mouth, tongue and throat. An oral cancer screening is usually a routine part of a dental check-up. In this exam, we will feel for lumps or irregular tissues in your neck, head, face, and inside your mouth. We will also look for sores or discoloured tissue in your mouth.
When we spot problems, we will devise a treatment plan and options for care that best meets your needs. We are here to answer your questions. If there’s something you don’t understand about the exam, diagnosis or treatment plan, be sure to ask us. We are here to help you.