Dental exams and checkups are essential in preventive dentistry. Many dental issues are preventable if detected at early stages. Thus, you must visit your dental expert regularly for checkups to assess your oral health. You can treat the dental problems while the condition is not severe. Based on your dental history, recent medication, your dental expert might require you to have frequent teeth examinations and particular treatment. Generally, patients with preexisting health issues like autoimmune disorders and diabetes will require more examination.
At Washington Dental, we have modern tools to offer exceptional dental services based on the needs of patients. We understand you might be in fear, especially when it’s your first-time dental treatment appointment, and thus we discuss your condition confidentially until you are ready. You don’t want to wait until it’s too late to treat your dental problem, so visit our offices today.
What a Dental Examination/Checkup Is
A dental checkup/exam involves the regular cleaning of your teeth during a dental visit. At the dental check-up, the dental expert will screen for tooth decay, gum disease, oral cancer and ask you of any underlying medical problem. The dental expert will also likely discuss certain lifestyles which affect your dental health. The dental expert also conducts a dental x-ray to evaluate the areas where the dentists cannot see with their naked eyes.
The dentist needs to assess your bone loss, tooth decay, periodontal disease, among other dental health issues. Remember, you might have these issues at present but fail to experience or see any signs or symptoms like discoloration or pain. Remember to work with a well-trained dental expert. Working with untrained dentistry might place your oral health at risk.
Preparing for a Dental Check-Up/Exam
Now that you have scheduled an appointment with your dental expert, you might be worried about the appointment. Many patients are afraid of dental visits and worry about the pain they experience and about the general examination. Many people visit dental experts when they already have worse dental issues. The following are the tips to help you have a smooth dental visit with your dentist:
Have a Good Sleep
Good sleep will ensure you are cool, collected, and calm before the visit. Good sleep will indeed ensure you feel energized and feel fresh, which is an excellent way to head to the dentist’s office. Also, you will not be disturbed by sleep as you interact with your dental expert.
Ensure the Dental Expert has Your Information
When it's your first-time dental check-up, you want to ensure the dentist has all your information. The information should include your previous dental treatments and procedures, allergies and the current medication you take. The information will help the dentist know the procedure you will likely require.
Make a List for Your Dental Signs and Symptoms
If you experience any dental issues, write them down before leaving your house. For instance, when you have any sign or symptom, make a note and include the possible cause of the symptom. Making a list will ensure you don’t forget any dental issues during the visit.
Many people feel nervous about eating before they visit their dentists. Take a light meal before you head to your dental expert. Remember, if you become hungry before the visit, you might feel unwell and even light-headed. Remember, when the dental professional wants to carry out a minor procedure, you might not take meals for several hours after the visit.
Clean Your Mouth Well
Cleaning your mouth well doesn’t mean you clean it vigorously the night before the visit. This might attract wear and much pain on your teeth’ enamel. But you want to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth at least twice a day, rinsing, and flossing them. Your dental expert will examine how well you clean your teeth and advise improving the general cleaning.
Arrive at the Dental Office Early
Being late for the appointment might make things stressful. You may miss the visit for making late appointments. Thus ensure you arrive at the dental office a bit early so you can fill any form without rushing. Also, you will have enough time to ask your dentist any question you have. Arriving on time means you will calm yourself and ensure you don’t forget any questions.
As discussed above, you have to make a list to help you remember the issues with the dental expert. However, let the dentist know the notes you have on your list. Let the dental expert know you're anxious about the visit. Once they know the appointment, they will soothe you and understand your feelings more. Thus this will make the process easier to handle.
What Happens During the Dental Exam/Check-ups
Many people don’t like visiting the dentist. They fear toothache as well as general dental treatment. Due to this, many will only visit the dentist when they experience unbearable pain, and it's too late to save their tooth. Just the way we have routine health checkups for our bodies, our teeth also require a regular check-up. During the visit, the dental expert will perform a series of dental activities, including:
Checking Your Dental History
Before the dentist does anything with your mouth, they will want to know more about dental history, whether it's your first-time appointment, any changes in your medication like current medication, pregnancy, arthritis, diabetes, among others. Your dental expert needs to know about your health concerns, allergies, and anxieties you might have to ensure you receive the type of dental care you deserve.
It's good to note that you have to let the dentist know about any anxieties you experience. We mean it! So, don’t become a hero and attempt to be brave – it's common for many patients to be afraid of their dentists. However, as a patient, all you need is an explanation and listening to the fears to make the appointment look better.
The second dental procedure the dentist will perform is teeth cleaning. After sharing your health issues, the dentist will start working on your mouth. They will first clean the mouth thoroughly. The procedure will start by scraping the tartar and plaque built below and above the gum line. The expert will then floss between and around each tooth to ensure they remove all the food particles and plaque forming on your teeth.
The dentist will give your teeth a new smooth and shiny finish. They will use a tooth polisher with a spinning head and abrasive paste to achieve fine finishing. The polishing will remove any residue missed and ensure the teeth are smoother. The plaque will not form easily between the next appointment with your dentist with smoother teeth.
Examining Your Teeth
Since your teeth are now pearly white, it’s time to examine any problem areas in the mouth. The dentist will use a metal probe with a small angled mirror to help them see between and behind your gums and teeth. The tool will also help them soften your dentin and tooth enamel.
The dentist will also look for any swelling of your gums, any redness, and sores. Lastly, they will measure the periodontal mouth pockets; these are the spaces between the top of your gum tissues and their attachment to the teeth. Primarily, the pocket should have a thickness between one and three millimeters in depth. A deeper pocket might be a symptom of gum disease. Thus, the dentist should closely monitor it.
Performing Dental X-rays
The last thing the dental expert will do is carry out a dental x-ray to evaluate whether you have any issue below your mouth surface. The X-ray will involve you biting a piece of plastic while they take an image against your cheek. The obtained image will show any visible part of the teeth and the root below your gum line and the jaw bone. Thus the dentist will see what is in your mouth and recommend the best oral care you require.
Many dental experts like the Washington Dental experts will require you to take a digital x-ray. It emits up to ninety percent less radiation, allows easy storage, and takes less time than traditional machines, which means more convenient, shorter, and safer appointments for you!
A dental exam differs from the initial examination performed by the hygienist since the dentist performs this one. The dental expert will use the x-ray obtained to see whether you have any bone loss, fracture, or even any abnormality below the gum line before they look for problems with your jaw alignment, oral cancer, and teeth grinding.
Usually, the dentist will feel the jawbones from outside the mouth as you bite to ensure the bite is smooth, aligned, with no popping or clicking from the jaw joints. Again, the dentist will inspect grooves on the teeth and see whether any has cracks or is smoothed due to jaw clenching or grinding. The last thing the dentist will do is to feel behind the neck and jaw to see whether you have any signs or symptoms of oral cancer.
The dental expert should know your oral health requirements upon doing all these. So, they will prescribe and recommend any necessary treatment you require to treat or prevent your problem.
The Final Result and Dentist’s Advice
After completing the dental examination, the dentist will let you understand what is happening to your oral health and advice on the next thing. In many cases, the professional will schedule another visit, while at times, they will give you advice about home remedies for your oral health. It’s good to listen to the dentist’s advice and practice their actions to ensure the next visit is successful. If the dentist recommends you on any medication, ensure you carefully listen and follow their prescriptions to avoid more medical complications.
The final step of dental examination/check is planning the next appointment date, set after six months. Scheduling the next visit is the most effective and easiest way to ensure you remember the dental check-up. Even when you are diligent about personal dental health, there isn’t better protection against oral problems than letting dental experts clean and monitor your teeth. If the dentist forgets to schedule the appointment, ask them immediately. Don’t just keep quiet and go home comfortably.
The Time a Dental Examination/Check Up Takes
Typical dental hygiene and dental exam appointment will take around 60 minutes. However, the appointment period will be shorter for a child. Again, the appointment period might be affected by other factors, including your age, frequency of dental checkups, and your general dental health.
It's good to know that at the time of your check-up, the dental expert will want to review other things like flossing and brushing techniques to assess whether you observe the best care for your teeth. Also, the time you take may depend on your cooperation with the dentist during the dental visit. For instance, if the dentist recommends a minor dental procedure and is uncooperative, you might take a lengthy period.
Ideal Frequency of Dental Check-Ups/Exams
People who have healthy gums and teeth problems are recommended to book a dental check-up based on their needs which the hygienist and your dentist tell you. The dental exam and check-up carried out by your dentist should be done once a year, although it might differ based on your needs. But, when you experience frequent dental problems, the dentist may recommend you schedule more appointments. For example, people with a dental history of experiencing underlying dental diseases should visit their dentist for teeth cleaning every three months.
What Dental Recall Examination Is
After the dental expert cleans your teeth, they will schedule a recall evaluation to examine any issues with your gums and teeth. Let the dentist know when you have problems with your specific teeth. When the dental expert notices any change from the first appointment to the next one, they will address the problem and help you reduce the chances of facing more complications.
The recall appointments make up most of your oral health visits. Unless you experience pain, or broken teeth, or even want to address specific dental diseases, many of your appointments will involve this kind of encounter. The reason is your oral health will only change between sessions. When you intercept problems earlier, you will help save your money and future complications.
Benefits of Dental Exams and Check-ups
You might think the dental experts only work on the teeth, but they work on other related parts. One advantage of regular dental appointments is that dental experts will spot any concerns which might turn into more significant problems in the future. For example, when they see a small cavity forming or discover the gums are not in good shape, they can offer treatment right away.
Many patients experience gum disease, and plaque build-up, which usually goes unnoticed since they don’t visit a professional soon enough. A dental expert will help you screen the early signs of oral cancer, among other significant illnesses. Conducting regular dental exams and checkups comes with many benefits, as discussed below:
Education on Good Dental Care
Many people have little or no knowledge of the proper ways to practice oral hygiene. For instance, several people brush their teeth once per day while others don’t brush at all. It might not sound like a big deal, but it might attract huge problems later.
Small habits like brushing your teeth after every meal are essential as they will help you fight bacterias and promote healthier oral hygiene. Keeping dental checkups will help you achieve the best dental hygiene.
Save Your Teeth
Sometimes you might find yourself in a situation where your teeth are rotten and decayed. We only have a set of adult teeth. Thus losing any of your permanent teeth might be detrimental to the general condition of your health.
Losing a tooth might lead to the occurrence of different circumstances in your mouth, like tooth shifting. Thus you might even experience discomforts when you smile. So, one of the best benefits of visiting your dentist is saving your teeth.
Treat Bad Breath
Chronic bad breath doesn’t just occur because of consuming many onions or morning breath. After you continuously practice poor dental hygiene, a condition known as halitosis will occur. You can't treat this problem by yourself. You can pinpoint what is causing the odor smell by visiting your dentist regularly. Sometimes the bad smell might result from a medical issue you want to solve immediately.
Handle Issues Related to Oral Health
Other conditions related to dental health need your dentist to solve them. For instance, you might have a headache when you sleep because of teeth grinding. During the dental visit, the dentist will help you treat the problem. Even when the dentist cannot treat the condition, they will refer you to the appropriate professional.
Maintain a Good Smile
A good smile might seem like a shallow benefit arising from regular appointments with your dentist. However, it’s a deeper benefit you will enjoy from your dentist. Everyone loves to have a good smile. The good news is your dentist can help you have a good smile.
Having pearly white teeth will come with visiting the dental experts regularly and adhering to their suggestions. Wearing braces and other dental procedures can also help you achieve a good smile. Whatever the case might be, the dentist will help you make the right decision and help boost your smile and build your self-esteem.
Different Types of Dental Examinations Offered by Washington Dentists
Our dentists are passionate about keeping our patient's oral health using our tools at our disposal. We offer dental exams/checkups, dental cleaning, and preventative dental care. The following are the various types of dental exams we provide to our patients:
The first time you visit our offices, we will conduct an initial dental examination. We will inspect your teeth, gums and even take images. We will use the images to determine the level of oral health you are experiencing. We allow the patients to explain more about their smiles to come up with a solution.
We advise many people and our patients to plan a dental check-up at least twice a year. We remove tartar and plaque during dental checkups to ensure your teeth are healthy. We also investigate whether you have any signs of decay or infection and correct them early during this stage.
Comprehensive exams involve more activities than cleaning the teeth. At this phase, we investigate any cancer symptoms, among other health problems. We beat these diseases once we detect them early and make comprehensive examinations crucial for general health.
At Washington Dental, we understand you cannot control or predict toothache in you or your child. That’s why we are here to help you. You only need to call or visit our offices, and we will restore your oral health.
6 Month Re-care
Our dentists will ensure you know we care about your oral health. After six months, we want to conduct oral checkups to ensure the partial dentures fit correctly. We even inspect any dental sealants on your child. Also, we examine and investigate the site of your previous infection. Every dental visit to our dentists will ensure you maintain the best oral health possible.
Contact a Los Angeles Dentist Near Me
Scheduling an appointment with a dentist might be overwhelming and horrifying to many people. But, you need to think about the benefits of visiting your dentist regularly. Don’t wait until your dental problem becomes worse. If you are looking for a dental professional to help you treat your dental anxiety, the right time to visit your dentist is now.
At Washington Dental, we are here for you. Start by making a call today. If you want dental exams in Los Angeles, Carson, Torrance & Lomita, CA, call us, and we will schedule a dental exam and check-up for you. We have helped countless people obtain the oral health they deserve.