Routine dental exams are a critical part of a person’s overall oral health as well as their health in general. Dental exams typically consist of a dental cleaning performed by a dental hygienist and the actual exam performed by a qualified and experienced dentist.
During the cleaning phase of the exam, the dental hygienist focuses on the removal of stubborn plaque and bacteria that builds up on the surface of a person’s teeth, even if they brush and floss on a regular basis. In many cases this plaque and bacteria builds up along the gum line, where it can cause a number of problems including gum disease. Once the plague and bacteria is removed, the hygienist will floss the patient’s teeth, followed by a polishing of the teeth using a number of highly specialized instruments. In addition, they will offer advice and tips on good oral hygiene practices that should be followed at home.
The actual dental exam takes place after the cleaning has been completed. The dentist will perform a complete examination of the patient’s throat and mouth, looking for dental health problems including tooth decay, infection, gum-disease and oral cancer. In many cases they will use a state-of-the-art DIAGNOdent laser cavity detection system to look for the very earliest signs of tooth decay. In addition, the dentist may take x-rays of the patient’s mouth, utilizing specialized x-ray equipment. These specialized tools, used as a part of regular dental exam, allow dental problems to be identified early on and before they become major problems, which can be painful and expensive!
Posted on behalf of Dan Myers
Traditionally there have only been 2 ways to diagnose tooth decay. The first was through a clinical examination with the use of an explorer, to check for any areas of soft tooth enamel. The other is by using dental x-rays to check between the teeth in areas that are not visible to the dentist. Now, there is a 3rd method that helps dentists identify decay at even earlier stages, keeping treatment as minimally invasive as possible.
Dental lasers such as the DIAGNOdent use electronic waves that measure the health of the tooth enamel, especially in areas of deep grooves and pits of the back teeth. In the past, those areas had to reach a certain point of decay before the dentist’s explorer could fit into them to detect them. With the use of laser cavity detection devices, cavities can be found in their earliest states. The device emits waves into the tooth and sounds an audible notification if suspected decay has been found. Because everyone’s teeth are different, the device is also calibrated against your own healthy tooth enamel. When used in conjunction with a dental exam and x-rays, laser detection can greatly improve the decay screening process.
Early decay intervention means that patients can have cavities repaired when they are extremely small. This prevents the bacteria from spreading to other teeth, or causing more significant cavities that would result in pain, discomfort, or costly repairs later on. The laser device can safely be used at every preventive care appointment, allowing your hygienist or assistant to screen for areas even before your exam with the dentist. This saves you valuable time and provides a more comprehensive care approach than traditional examinations.
Posted on the behalf of Dr. Sarah Roberts, Crabapple Dental
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