While we've all been taught about the importance of going to the dentist for an exam, we're not all taught what such exams involve. At Riverstone Family Dentistry we believe that knowing about dental exams will make you feel more comfortable when you visit our office to have one conducted.
What a Dental Exam Is
A dental exam (a.k.a. dental checkup, oral exam) is the process we use to carefully review how healthy your mouth is. This is why we'll take x-rays and visually look at your whole mouth - something that should be done at least once a year and if you're at high risk of developing periodontal disease you should go twice a year or once every 6 months. Doing so will help you maintain good oral hygiene so you don't develop other dental diseases, especially if you're not great at brushing and flossing your teeth.
What Happens During a Dental Exam
During a dental exam, we will clean your teeth and look for any signs that you may have cavities or gum disease. It all starts with a basic assessment of all the different parts of your mouth - your teeth, gums, tongue, cheeks, and jaw. We may also take x-rays or conduct other diagnostic procedures so that we can see if there's any decay hiding between your teeth, in areas that aren't seen by the human eye.
This is a great time to discuss with us any problems you may be experiencing with your mouth or gums since the last time you saw us. Additionally, don't be surprised if we ask you questions about your overall health. Doing so enables us to be better equipped to provide you with advice about your diet and how to take care of your teeth better. Ultimately, it is our goal to make your dental exam as easy and painless as possible, which is why this discussion is vital.
All of this will end with us scheduling a time for you to visit our office again for your next dental exam.
Understanding the Possible Pain Associated with a Dental Exam
Some people are afraid that having their teeth cleaned will be painful and that they need emergency dental care. However, if you take good care of your oral hygiene between dental visits, you'll have nothing to worry about. This means that you should develop good habits, especially when it comes to flossing. This is important because flossing does about 40% of the work when you're trying to clean any plaque off your teeth. Preceding flossing will make your hygienist's job more difficult and your time in the dentist's chair more painful.
After we're done cleaning your teeth, it's possible that they may be "sore." You may also experience some sensitivity, or your gums may bleed a bit. This is normal because our tools have come into contact with your inflamed gums. It's also normal to experience these things when we do a deep cleaning that requires a local anesthetic.
Now you should feel more comfortable about getting a dental exam so contact Riverstone Family Dentistry at (360) 718-8304 to schedule yours today.