Dental exams are one of many ways that you can help keep your teeth and mouth healthy. Most people frequently use the terms “dental exam” and “dental cleaning” interchangeably, but they’re actually two different things.
A dental exam is more thorough than a dental cleaning. It allows a dentist to check someone’s mouth for signs of oral cancer and potential diseases. Indian Trail Dental Studio in Indian Trail, NC offers comprehensive dental exams.
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Dental Exams: An Overview
We receive lots of questions about how dental exams work, the difference between dental exams and dental cleanings, and what to expect during an oral exam. We’ve decided to put together an all-encompassing resource in order to help our patients better understand what’s involved in a dental exam and why these exams are so beneficial.
What is a dental exam?
A comprehensive dental exam is performed every few years in order to screen for tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. You receive a periodic exam twice a year to ensure nothing has changed since your last dental visit.
You may also be familiar with dental cleanings. These are not the same as dental exams. Dental cleanings do encompass an examination– dental cleaning helps identify areas of concern and damage to teeth– but that’s where a cleaning ends. Dental exams include imaging and preventative charting.
Why would I need a comprehensive dental exam?
Dental exams play an essential role in preventative health care. When you go to a dental exam, your dentist gets the opportunity to check your mouth for signs of tooth decay and gum disease.
You may also benefit from a dental exam if it has been quite some time since your last dental cleaning (or if you’ve never had one). This will allow your dentist to understand your mouth’s current health and assist in creating a plan for the future.
How long does a dental exam take?
Most dental exams fall somewhere between 55 and 75 minutes. If you have questions about how long your exam might take, we recommend asking for dentist for their thoughts. Oral exams are not as short as dental cleanings, but only average about an hour long.
What happens during a dental exam?
Over the course of a dental exam, you will likely experience…
- Complete imaging
- Oral cancer screening
- Gum measurements
A dental exam offers your dentist the chance to evaluate and document your entire oral health. X-rays help make it easier to detect cysts, bone loss, decay, and tumors. Your dentist will also examine any existing restorations in your mouth to ensure that they are still safe and useful.
How often should I get my teeth examined?
You should pursue dental examinations every five years. This will ensure that you receive a detailed evaluation of your oral health on a regular basis. You should also attend periodic exams on a bi-annual basis in order to allow for the evaluation of maintenance of oral health.
Periodic exams and cleanings usually involve:
- Removing plaque: Plaque is living bacteria that resides inside of our mouths. When it isn’t removed, it stays alive by feeding on food debris in our mouths. Plaque releases toxins that inflame the gums
- Removing tarter: Tarter can only be removed using professional dental instruments; it is often found above and below the gum lines. You can think of tarter as hardened plaque attached to a tooth or section of gums
- Polishing teeth: Dentists can use equipment to remove plaque and stains and polish teeth
Schedule Your Next Dental Appointment with Hasmi R. Patel, DMD at Indian Trail Dental Studio
Are you looking for a dental checkup and oral exam in the Indian Trail area? If so, reach out to us today to find out more about our dental offerings. Our office works to help patients feel comfortable and empowered throughout their dental experience.