During a dental exam, the dentist or hygienist will:
- Evaluation of your overall health and oral hygiene
- Evaluate your risk of tooth decay, root decay, and gum or bone disease
- Evaluate your need for tooth restoration or tooth replacement
- Check your bite and jaw function
- Removal of staining and/or calculus deposits on your teeth
- Demonstrate proper cleaning techniques for your teeth or dentures
- Assess your need for fluoride
- Take dental X-rays or, if necessary, do other diagnostic procedures
During a dental exam, your dentist or hygienist will also ask about any health issues you have or medications you're taking and discuss how they may affect your oral health. If you have diabetes, for example, you're at increased risk of gum disease. Any medication that contributes to dry mouth can increase your risk of tooth decay and may also recommend an electric toothbrush to try at home.
If you have prosthetic replacements — such as dentures or bridges — your dentist or hygienist will examine how well they fit and discuss the need for adjustments.
Dental exams might also include counseling about diet, use of tobacco products and other lifestyle factors that can affect oral health.
The benefits of X-rays are well known: They help dentists diagnose common problems, such as cavities, gum disease and some types of infections. Radiographs allow dentists to see inside a tooth and beneath the gums to assess the health of the bone and supporting tissues that hold teeth in place.
There are a number of X-rays a dental professional can order. The amount and type of X-rays needed will depend greatly on the type of care the patient needs to receive.
A dental X-ray allows the dentist to see detailed images of your mouth. Various types of dental X-rays are available, including:
- Bitewing. This type of X-ray allows the dentist or hygienist to see in between the margins of the upper and lower teeth. During a bitewing X-ray, you'll bite down on the X-ray film holder while the X-ray images are being taken.
- Periapical. This type of X-ray allows the dentist to see the entire tooth and the surrounding cortical bone.
- Panoramic. This type of X-ray gives the dentist a broad view of the entire mouth.
- Cone beam computerized tomography. This type of X-ray provides a 3-D view so that the dentist can better gauge the spacing of teeth and adjacent structures. (not offered at Eicon Dental)
X-rays are typically taken during your bi-yearly check up visit or if you are new to the practice. Radiation exposure from dental X-rays is very low — but you may talk to your dentist if there are any concerns about radiation exposure.
Oral cancer exam
During your dental exam, your dentist or hygienist will look for signs of oral cancer. He or she will feel the area under your jaw, the sides of your neck, and the insides of your lips and cheeks, as well as examine the sides of your tongue and the roof and floor of your mouth for for lesions or any discolorations that might be suspicious.