You already have a busy schedule. Having to add in regular dental exams can seem like a bit of a hassle. You already take care of your mouth, so why do you even need an exam in the first place? While you might not look forward to them, dental exams are essential. Tim Perry, DDS can perform your routine dental exams, helping you to maintain a healthy mouth and a healthy body.
When performing your dental exams, we check over your teeth. In addition to checking them for wear and damage, we are also checking for areas of decay and cavities. Decay develops when the acids produced by oral bacteria begin to eat away at your tooth enamel, causing areas of weakness. Without treatment, an area of decay can become a cavity. Once cavities form, they cannot be reversed. Even if the decay is removed, the cavity itself can still present significant issues. In addition to looking at the teeth, we may also probe them. Early detection and treatment of cavities helps to prevent the tooth from becoming weak or developing an infection.
Diagnosing Gum Disease
In addition to looking at your teeth, we also take a close look at your gums. What we are looking for is areas that might be red or swollen. We may check for bleeding as well. These are all signs of gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. We also check for pockets between the gums and the teeth and gum recession. Deep pockets can indicate more advanced stages of gum disease. Unfortunately, the earliest stages of gum disease are not all that easy to detect on your own. Without treatment, the condition continues to get worse. Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss.
Checking for Oral Cancer
Starting around the age of 18, oral cancer screenings become a regular part of your dental exams. They are typically recommended once a year, but can be performed more frequently depending upon your age and if you have certain risk factors. Oral cancer is almost impossible to detect early on, but early detection is key for successful treatment and increasing your chances of survival. The later oral cancer is detected, the harder it is to treat, and the lower the chances of surviving the disease. When performing your screening, we check your intraoral tissues for any unusual growths and feel your neck and throat for any swelling.
Finding Hidden Concerns
X-rays are an integral part of your dental exams. These are images that show us the spaces between your teeth, as well as the roots of your teeth and your jawbone. Using these pictures, we can check for hidden cavities and damage that you might not even know is there. The sooner hidden issues are brought into the light, the easier it is to provide you with effective treatment.
Helping You Stop Harmful Habits
Certain habits can affect your oral health. These habits include smoking, alcohol consumption, bruxism, biting your nails, and chewing on ice. During your exams, we can detect issues caused by these habits that you might not even know are present. By finding these issues and letting you know about them, we can help you to take the necessary steps to protect your mouth.
The ADA recommends just two routine dental exams a year. In the long run, these visits are not much of a disruption and can help to prevent serious consequences. For more information, call Tim Perry, DDS at (318) 322-0576 today.