Heading to the dentist for your bi-annual check-up? We bet you expect your teeth will get cleaned, the dentist will do a quick check, and call it a day. While it is true that your pearly whites are going to get an excellent cleaning, there is a lot more going on than you may realize.
When your dentist is checking the health of your teeth and gums, they are also paying attention to a lot of other, smaller details that give them clues about your overall health.
Here’s an in-depth look into what all is really happening during your visit:
Examining Your Tongue
Your tongue is a significant indicator of potential or current oral health concerns. Is it discolored? Sensitive? While not usually the case, these factors can be signs of a more serious problem, which your dentist would notice during an exam.
Examining Your Gums
Your dentist always checks the health of your gums during a dental exam. They’ll be looking for any signs of bleeding, swelling, or large gum pockets, all of which are signs of potential gum disease.
Examining Your Salivary Glands
Just like gums, teeth, and your tongue, your salivary glands need to be checked. If they aren’t functioning correctly, your mouth may be drier than usual, making you susceptible to cavities, bacteria, infection, and bad breath.
Smelling Your Breath
We know, we know, that sounds gross. But, your dentist takes one for the team and always smells your breath for any signs of unusually bad breath, which can be an indicator of several adverse health issues.
Screening for Cancer
Another thing your dentist is looking for while examining your mouth is any sign of oral cancer. Oral cancer is a very real threat, and if left untreated, can become life-threatening. Your dentist is often the first to notice the signs of oral cancer and help diagnose it early, giving you more time for successful treatment.
Checking Your Tonsils
Your dentist always checks the back of your throat and tonsils to ensure there are no signs of infection or irritation.
Checking Each and Every Tooth
With the help of their trusty probe and little mirror, your dentist will go over each one of your teeth. This is done to observe any areas of concern that have occurred since your last visit.
Searching for Sinus Infections
Sinus and dental issues usually go hand-and-hand. How many times have you experienced a nasty sinus infection and noticed that it’s caused pain in and around your mouth? Both sinus and dental issues can lead to a whole lot of physical pain. Your dentist can check on the health of your sinuses to determine whether it is simply a sinus infection or a more involved dental-related concern.
Evaluating Your Bite/Checking for TMJ Issues
Your bite is an essential indicator of your oral health. Over time, your bite can shift and change. While subtle changes are normal, if there has been a significant shift or if there are any signs of malocclusion (teeth misalignment), your dentist will notice and be able to offer a specific plan to correct that shift. Your Dentist will also examine the contour/shape of your teeth to check for evidence of teeth grinding/clenching. Most people are not even aware that they are grinding unless they have symptoms. Some of the symptoms include: waking up with a headache, soreness of muscles, neck & back pain as well as soreness of the jaw.
Building a Sustainable Oral Health Foundation
At CNS Dental, we offer dental exams with a side of education. Rather than treating our patients only when they visit our office, we provide educational knowledge and total health connections to take with them in their day-to-day lives.
Your dental appointments are so much more than just a simple cleaning! We are proud of the high-quality and in-depth level of care offered for general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, and emergency dental services! Now that the end of the year is almost here, it’s time to squeeze in any final dental appointments you need/want so you utilize your dental benefits before they expire on December 31st! Call our offices today to schedule your appointment.