Most people in the U.S. visit the dentist on a regular basis. Although the recommended checkup schedule is twice a year, even once per year is helpful. However, to make dental screenings effective, your dentist should be conducting a range of examinations and tests to ensure your teeth, mouth, and jaws remain in good health. Spotting a serious condition early can often lead to a good outcome. Is your dentist following industry guidelines for each checkup? Learn more information at Prosthodontic Associates, which has more online resources available.
During each dentist visit, a visual observation of your mouth should include lips, tongue, cheeks, and upper throat. Often, a dentist can spot signs of trouble, from tipped teeth to unexplained sores in hard-to-see places, like under the tongue. Lumps or abrasions can be noted as well, and examined further if necessary. Tooth discoloration may indicate possible infection or a need for whitening. Some levels of tooth decay may be noticed at this point, too.
Based on insurance guidelines and dentist recommendations, x-rays will be performed on a specific schedule, although not usually at every checkup. X-rays help to locate dental problems not easily seen by regular vision. Cavities forming below the gum line or behind the back teeth along with root decay may be seen and then treated in a timely manner before they worsen. In children or preteens, x-rays can reveal teeth that are embedded in the gum or upper palate.
Using a set of sterilized dental instruments, your mouth can be carefully explored to look for signs of problems, such as inflammation or infection, in both the teeth and soft tissues. Teeth that are twisted or tilted can be prodded to see if they are becoming loose. The dentist can also explore below the gum line to check out a possible problem.
Professional dental services also include a periodontal exam that measures each tooth's circumference. Using a calibrated probe between the teeth and gums lets the dentist measure the proximity of gum tissue to teeth structure. Numbers one through three indicate good gum health, while numbers four or higher suggest periodontal problems, including possible bone loss. If the problem persists, additional services may be required.
Dental hygiene instruction.
Most people know how to brush their teeth in general terms, but many are unaware of the precise techniques that do the most good. For example, brushing after eating is preferable to doing it just morning and night. Daily flossing is also recommended. You may be advised to use a fluoride rinse once a day. Good dental care helps to minimize tooth decay and other problems.
If you're not already receiving these services, ask your dentist about them at your next checkup. Learn more information at Prosthodontic Associates, which has more online resources available.