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  • Writer's pictureRick Villarreal

Everything You Need to Know About Dental Exams

Put aside your fears of the dentist and learn more about what to expect at a dental exam. Learn why visiting the dentist protects your oral health.

Visiting the dentist for bi-annual exams helps you maintain healthy teeth and gums. Routine check-ups make it easier for dentists to detect problems early and give patients more treatment options.

Yet, many people in Brownsville don't see a dentist regularly because they fear the exam or don't have money to cover the costs.

Dentists in Brownsville want to quell fears associated with routine dental exams. The more information people have about the exam process, the more empowered and less scared they feel sitting in the dental chair.

Is This Your First Dental Exam?

If it's your first dental exam in many years, be upfront with the dentist. Many people are embarrassed about how long it's been since they've had dental treatment, but dentists understand. They know people have fears. Be upfront about any hesitancies and discuss ways to conquer the fear, such as sedation dentistry options.

Bring Your Medical History With You to the Exam

Dentists want to know about your medical history. If it's your first exam, the dentist will ask questions about your overall health. Some medical conditions such as diabetes affect oral health, which is why dentists need your complete medical history. People who take blood thinners might need to make plans with their medical doctors to stop taking their medicine before oral surgery to prevent complications. These are examples of why patients must be upfront about their medical conditions and medications. Patients who've switched dentists need to have their dental records sent to the new office.

What to Expect During the Dental Exam

First, the Dental hygienist will use an angled mirror and dental probe to take up to six measurements per tooth to diagnose gum health. They also use a metal pick to scrape off excessive plaque buildup that cleaning doesn't remove. Once this portion of the exam is complete, the dentist performs the exam.

The dentist uses an angled mirror attached to a metal probe to see your teeth from all angles to look for signs of cavities. Dentists diagnose cavities when they spot enamel softening, the hard surface of the teeth, and soft dentin. The dentin protects the pulp found in the center of the teeth. Dentists also exam the mouth and gums for signs of swelling, excessive redness, or sores and check for signs of excessive grove wear and tear, a sign of jaw clenching.

During routine exams, dentist's exam the mouth for signs of periodontitis (gum disease). They do this by measuring periodontal pockets. These pockets are the spaces between the soft tissues that keep the teeth in place and the top of the gum line. Periodontal pockets shouldn't be deeper than three millimeters. Anything deeper could be an early indication of gum disease.

The dentist also wants to check your bite to ensure everything aligns well and that the joints don't click when opening and shutting the mouth.

If the dentist diagnosis a cavity or other condition, they'll explain the next steps for treatment.

Everyone Deserves Quality, Low-Cost Dental Exams

Your oral health plays a role in your overall health and wellness. If insurance or money issues are holding you back from seeing a dentist, contact a Brownsville dentist today to learn about payment options for every budget. Our low-income dentist is proud to offer migrant dental services to residents of the area.

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