The best way to keep your oral health is to take good care of your teeth. Of course, you should brush and floss daily. But it’s also vital that you visit your dentist for regular exams. This helps you to cut down on your risk of cavities, gingivitis, and periodontitis. Exams can also help detect threats to your health such as oral cancer.
You should have an exam every six months. Your dentist may ask that you go in more often based on your oral health.
What to Expect in a Dental Exam
When you go for an exam, your dentist or hygienist will do a careful check of your teeth and gums to find signs of tooth decay, gum disease, or any other oral health problems. She will also check your face, the sides of your neck, under your jaw, inside your lips and cheeks, your tongue, and the roof and floor of your mouth for trouble signs.
From time to time, your dentist will take x-rays. This only takes a short time. While the x-rays are done, your dentist or a technician will take steps to shield you from radiation.
To clean your teeth, your hygienist will carefully scrape off any hard mineral buildup, known as tartar. Then she will floss your teeth and apply a polish. Next, a fluoride solution will be put on your teeth.
The hygienist may then speak with you about your diet and oral hygiene routine. She may even show you the right ways to floss and brush.
At some point in the exam, she may ask you about any meds you take as well as other health issues. If you have any oral health issues, the dentist will explain your treatment options. This is a great time for you to ask any questions you may have.
How to Prepare for a Dental Exam
The best way to prepare for your exam is to get a good night’s sleep and avoid drinks with caffeine or sugar on the day you go in. If you can, be sure to wear comfy clothes and set up your visit on a weekend or in the a.m. to avoid the stress of breaking up your workday.
If you feel anxious about the exam, talk about how you feel with the dentist. Many dental offices can offer ways to help calm and soothe you.