Dental Exams and Digital X-Rays
Routine dental exams are important to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Additionally, they can help to avoid the financial costs associated with large treatment plans later on. The Academy of General Dentistry recommends twice yearly checkups for people of all ages. At this frequency, most problems can be caught while they remain in an early stage.
How it's done
The dentist first examines your mouth visually, using dental equipment such as mouth mirrors, assorted dental tools, and high intensity lights. They will look for cracked and decayed teeth, as well as review other important items such as:
- Medical history: The dentist will assess how any new medical conditions or illnesses may affect your dental health.
- Examination of tooth decay: Your mouth will be checked for cracked or decayed teeth.
- Oral cancer screening: The face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums will be checked for any signs of oral cancer.
- Gum disease evaluation: Your gums and bone around the teeth will be checked for any evidence of periodontal disease.
- Examination of existing restorations: Current fillings, crowns, and other restorations are made sure to be in good order.
Additionally, your dentist will take diagnostic x-rays to reveal any other hidden problems, especially in the areas below the gums. Bitewing x-rays are typically taken every 12 months and a panographic x-ray, which revolves around the head, is taken every 3-5 years.
Within our office, we use digital X-Rays. Digital x-rays are quickly becoming adopted by a large percentage of the dental industry. A digital x-ray allows the dentist to take an image of the tooth or teeth and put it into an imaging program. Within this imaging program, there are a number of tools that will allow the dentist to take a very close look at the teeth and surrounding structures with amazing accuracy. As a benefit to the patient, the digital x-ray also provides nearly 80% less radiation than a standard x-ray. This is due to the fact that the digital version of the x-ray is much more sensitive to this radiation and has been specifically designed with the patient in mind.