You may think that coming in for regular cleanings every six months means that you don’t need to get a full dental exam, but the truth is that comprehensive dental dental exams are a good idea for everyone. There are many issues that go beyond your regular cleaning that need to be addressed.
As we noted last time, people who are grinding down their teeth have options, but first it’s important to identify when you’re wearing down your teeth.
Tooth wear isn’t the concern of the hygienist. Your dentist, on the other hand, is in a great position to identify tooth wear and recommend responses. This goes not just for people who are grinding all their teeth away, but especially for someone who has one or two teeth that are suffering an excess of wear.
Concerns about wear are important for your dental restorations as well as your natural teeth. We want to identify stress on a dental restoration before it fails–not after.
Decay is something a hygienist might notice, but likely won’t. Their focus is cleaning your teeth. In order to detect decay in your teeth, you need to be examined by a dentist. A dentist will look closely at your teeth to identify areas of discoloration or actual cavities in your enamel. Ideally, these will be identified before they become too serious so they can be treated in a minimally-invasive way.
Gum Disease and Jawbone Damage
In addition to your teeth, you need to be concerned with the health of your gums. After all, it’s your gums and jawbone that support your teeth, and gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. That’s because gum disease can lead to the loss of bone in your jaw, which can make your teeth loose and eventually cause them to fall out.
But gum disease isn’t the only potential cause of damage to your jawbone. Excess stress on your teeth can lead to the loss of jawbone around one or more teeth.
What to Expect in a Comprehensive Exam
In a comprehensive exam, we will look closely at your teeth, gums, and any restorations you may have, including dental implants. We will make sure everything is healthy, intact, and in good working order. We will look for potential signs that trouble may be brewing. We will also talk to you about symptoms that may indicate TMJ, and will make sure your bite system is in balance.
In addition to the exam, we will perform a set of x-rays to give us a clearer view of your mouth, including identifying bone loss. We may also perform a Tekscan bite analysis to ensure your bite is healthy.
Overall, our goal is to make sure that we are anticipating and preventing problems, not merely responding to them. Oral health is the foundation of a beautiful, youthful smile.