When it comes to effective preventative dentistry, a dental cleaning (or prophylaxis) is a great place to start. Most patients should plan on seeing your dentist every 6 months for their “Recare “appointments. Some patients who have had previous periodontal therapy or periodontal surgery for oral bone infection are often seen every 3 months. However, if you notice any pain or irregularities with your mouth, jaw, teeth, or gums between Recare appointments you should call to have that evaluated, as waiting longer may allow greater damage to occur. During these visits your dentist and dental hygienist will do a thorough examination, a deep cleaning to remove plaque calculus (or tartar) and stain and possibly take necessary X-rays and perform a fluoride treatment.
What does a hygiene exam consist of?
During your examination, your dentist will look for irregularities in your mouth. This will include evaluation for tooth decay, soft tissue and bone disease around your teeth, and also a very thorough “head and neck exam” to check for oral cancer, TMJ issues, or other abnormalities. Most patients remark that they have never had an exam that was that thorough. Finding these problems early aids in more effective and less expensive treatment and can prevent them from developing into anything more serious. For instance, detecting oral cancer early can save your life.
After your dentist and hygienist inspects each tooth thoroughly, they will gently scrape away any plaque and tartar buildup. They will also polish your teeth to smooth the surface and remove any external staining. Next, they will floss between each tooth and look for any signs of bloody or infected gums to identify areas for gingivitis (soft tissue) or periodontal disease (bone infection). Lastly, you may be given a fluoride treatment, which is a gel or varnish that can dramatically reduce the risk of primary decay in your natural teeth or secondary decay around existing restorations (crowns or fillings).
Why are dental exams important?
Dental cleanings are important for helping to fight the bacteria and plaque in your mouth and making sure that your teeth and gums are healthy. If you have not had a dental cleaning in a while or think that you could benefit from one, give our office a call today. We are always welcoming new patients and look forward to helping you get your oral health and smile back on track.
Healthy teeth and gums are essential for your overall bodily health. One of the best ways to keep your mouth and smile healthy is by seeing your dentist regularly. We are committed to help you your smile or restore it if it is already damaged. If you think you are in need of a cleaning or check-up, by all means, give us a call today.
Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer is incredibly serious and potentially life-threatening. The key to successfully treating head and neck cancers, as with all cancers, is to catch them early. To help with this, we do consistent head and neck and oral cancer screenings to detect suspicious lesions in the head and neck region, and if necessary, to promptly refer the patient to an appropriate physician or oral surgeon.
What is a head and neck- oral cancer screening?
This screening searches for any indication of cancer or precancerous lesions before you actually experience any symptoms. This screening will examine not just your mouth, but also your face, scalp, eyes, ears, nose, neck, and lips.
We will also examine your throat, hard and soft palates, tongue, etc. During the screening, we are looking for asymmetries, abnormal discolorations (red or white lesions or ulcerations), swellings, lumps or masses. If anything abnormal is found, additional testing or referral will be necessary.
Your screening isn’t just a physical exam, it is also a good opportunity for you to address any physical concerns you may have. If you have any questions about your oral care or oral health in general, this screening is a great time to consult with us.
What causes oral cancer?
There are certain behaviors that can greatly increase your risk of developing oral cancer. Tobacco products such as cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and snuff can all greatly increase your risk of developing oral cancer. Drinking alcohol, having HPV (human papillomavirus), and increased sun exposure are some of the things known to increase the risk for head and neck cancer.
Overall, an oral cancer screening can take just a few minutes to complete and can greatly aid in early cancer detection. These screenings are a regular part of our Recare process. If you believe you are at risk for oral cancer and feel you need a screening, give us a call today.