To determine if dental exams are necessary, it is important to know what they are, and what they entail. Dental exams can be referred to as dental checkups, comprehensive oral exams or complete oral exams. While these terms sound quite similar, there is a difference between a dental checkup and a complete oral exam.
Regular dental exams are a critical part of preventive health care.
During a dental exam, the dentist or hygienist will clean your teeth and check for cavities and gum disease. The exam includes evaluating your risk of developing other oral problems and checking your face, neck and mouth for abnormalities. A dental exam might also include dental X-rays (radiographs) or other diagnostic procedures.
Experienced dentists will likely discuss your diet and oral hygiene habits and might demonstrate proper brushing and flossing techniques. Other topics might include lifestyle factors that can affect oral health and possible cosmetic improvements to your teeth.
A complete oral exam is also referred to as a comprehensive oral exam or dental exam. This type of exam can last up to half an hour in some cases. A complete oral exam involves taking a detailed snapshot of your dental health in many areas. These types of exams are done every three to five years.
Experienced dentists at ALERIS SALEM DENTAL CENTER in Salem, MA will also check your mouth to look for any irregularities, and to screen for oral cancer and other dental conditions.
Dental x-rays are used in a complete oral exam to see the bone levels for each tooth and to monitor the development of teeth in young children and teenagers. Areas of infection or dental decay are also easily seen with the use of x-rays.
Regular dental exams help protect not just your oral health, but also your overall health. The American Dental Association recommends that adults schedule regular dental exams at intervals determined by a dentist.
The dentist will also recommend when to return for a follow-up visit. If you are at high risk of tooth decay or gum disease or have other oral health problems, the dentist might recommend frequent checkups. Treatment might be needed to address any of these findings and may be explained in a follow- up consultation appointment with our experienced dentists at ALERIS SALEM DENTAL CENTER in Salem, MA.