Trying to find a dentist can be a long process, but there are certain points patients can look for to make the search easier. While it is up to individual patients to decide what qualities matter most, these three aspects of a dental office can be kept in mind to help narrow down choices. Every…
Find a Dentist for a Dental Cleaning, Exam, and Digital X-rays
While a daily routine of brushing and flossing is important, it is equally important to find a dentist for additional oral health support. A visit to the dentist should happen at least once or twice a year, rather than only scheduling an appointment when tooth pain has become unbearable. There are preventative measures taken during a scheduled cleaning that address tooth decay or disease, and early warning signs of these conditions are sometimes revealed through digital X-rays.
Why routine cleanings are important
Oral health is closely connected to a person’s overall health. Diseases like diabetes, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis may have early warning signs that appear in the mouth. A dentist can inform the patient of a possible condition and suggest conferring with a primary care physician for followup care. A routine checkup also takes care of any tartar or plaque that has built up, as a dentist uses special tools in places that are hard to reach for more detailed cleaning.
Health problems or medications
While at a routine exam, the dentist asks about medications that a patient is taking and other general health concerns. There are several medications that can create a dry mouth, a condition that increases the risk of tooth decay. A poor diet may impact the strength of the teeth, as a calcium deficiency leaves the teeth week and at an increased risk for damage. When the dentist knows the areas of elevated risk, appropriate action can be taken to prevent complications and more serious oral health conditions down the road.
Another reason to find a dentist is that they can look for signs of oral cancer during an appointment. The area around the jaw, along the sides of the neck, and the inside areas of the mouth are examined for lumps, lesions, and discoloration.
Why X-rays are taken during a dental visit
If an appointment has been scheduled to address complaints of tooth pain or bleeding, a dentist may recommend that a digital X-ray be taken during the visit. Dental X-rays give the big picture of what is going on inside the mouth, providing an image of the teeth and the root systems, the facial bone composition, and the placement of the jaw. Abnormalities recognized during a visual examination may be clarified by an X-ray.
Digital imaging can reveal decay underneath fillings or between teeth, growing tumors or cysts, signs of periodontal disease, and abscesses. It can also show the position of the teeth and indicate whether corrective treatments or cosmetic procedures may be required to restore function and uniformity to the mouth.
As oral health varies by individual, X-rays may only be required every few years, or those with gum disease or other serious conditions may need X-rays taken at every visit to check for healing or increased severity. Because of the importance of imaging and oral health assessments, dentists often have the imaging done at the office at the time of the visit.
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