Your teeth are an important part of both your physical health and your appearance. A healthy mouth provides not only a beautiful smile but strong teeth as well. Having good dental health means you can chew foods without issue and don’t have to worry as much about cavities, tooth loss, chips, gum bleeding, and pain. However, going to the dentist is something a lot of people don’t do for an assortment of reasons ranging from a very busy lifestyle to a lack of dental insurance. No matter your reasoning, regular checkups can only improve your dental health.
If you haven’t been to the dentist for an extended time you may not remember or know the process for a visit or exam.
Here is a brief overview to inform you of the broader exam process and what to expect when you visit us at Hebert Family Dentistry.
1. A Review of Your Overall Medical History
A review of your dental history allows your dentist to properly treat any pre-existing or possible dental concerns you may have. Your broader medical history is also important as it tells your dentist any prescriptions you may be using and in some cases past operations. This is important because your prescription medication can have an impact on your overall dental health and how to properly care for your teeth. Also, past health ailments can impact your teeth often in ways that may not be obvious. For example, if you have rheumatoid arthritis this can also cause gum disease. Having a complete picture of your health allows your dentist to provide efficient and suitable care.
Dental x-rays are an essential part of your first visit as they provide your dentist with vital information. X-rays allow your dentist to see what’s occurring between your teeth, beneath the gum line, underneath any old fillings, and also view your jaw. This information tells your dentist about your overall dental health and can check for things such as tooth growth or potential health concerns.
3. An Overall Examination
A dental exam helps establish a baseline for your overall dental health. After careful examination, your dentist will be able to tell how well your jaw functions, how your teeth fit together as you bite, the current condition of any existing dental work you may have, and the overall condition of your teeth. While examining your mouth, your dentist may make use of a camera to show you pictures of any concerns they may discover.
4. Checking Your Gum Health
An important part of your first visit is checking your gums and looking for signs of periodontal or gum disease. Tests can include measuring the teeth and examining how they attach to the gums. These figures show the overall bone levels around the teeth. They can be a sign of gum issues such as receding. Gum issues are important to detect as they can lead to early tooth loss.
Without regular dental checkups, you will more than likely need cleaning to remove any built-up tartar. In general, you should get a professional cleaning done every six months. If it’s been years since your last cleaning it could take longer to clean your teeth than average. Depending on your dentist’s availability, your cleaning may occur at a later appointment. However, in some cases, it may be done the same day. Also, issues such as gum disease can lead to a cleaning being broken up between multiple appointments.
6. Planning For Future Treatments
If you need any future dental care to address a specific issue your dentist will bring this up last after your examination. They will outline the cost, time frame, how long the appointments will take, and treatment steps throughout the process. Most first-time visits to a dentist are preventative and any more advanced treatments will occur at a later date. Your dentist will also go over any future appointments for regular cleaning and check-ups.