We need to say something in defense of exams. We think dental exams have really gotten a reputation they don't deserve. That's because for a lot of people, the word "exam" doesn't have good meaning attached to it. It reminds a lot of us about those exams we took in school a few years ago, and the notion of reliving those memories isn't pleasant.
Many Americans are afraid of dental exams. In fact, three out of every four Americans don't want to visit us because they are concerned about what's in store for them. If you are one of those people who worry about exams, we're here to ease your mind. Let Zhou Dental Care give you information about dental exams, and how they can help you have great smiles and great dental health for life.
What Happens During a Dental Exam?
Has it been awhile since you had a dental exam? Can you even remember when it was? If you can't begin to remember the last time your teeth were checked, we're sure you need to come in.
Everyone - adults and children - needs to have their teeth checked twice a year. One reason we like you to come in and get your teeth checked is because if there are problems, we'll be able to fix the early before real trouble starts. If we can find and fix small problems early, they don't have the chance to become bigger problems. We need to make sure you don't have any major problems with your teeth before we can give them a thorough cleaning as well. For example, if we begin cleaning your teeth before we really examine them, you may have a cracked tooth somewhere that we need to be careful of and repair before the exam is complete.
Dental exams are a step by step process. First, we need to take digital x-rays of your mouth. X-rays do a couple of things for you. First, they help us find a problem in your mouth quickly. They can also be used to track changes in your mouth over a period of time. X-rays may sound scary, but they are actually painless. After we finish taking your x-rays, we then check all of the structures of your mouth. We check your teeth, your gums, your tongue, cheeks and palate. We may need to use a mirror to check and make sure all of your mouth structures are in great shape.
What We Are Looking For During a Dental Exam
When we conduct an exam of your mouth, there are three things we are looking for specifically. First, we are looking for signs of tooth decay in your mouth. That's because even if a cavity starts out small, they grow larger over time. Eventually, that cavity will cause an infection in your mouth and may lead to tooth loss - which no one wants. Second, we're looking for gum disease. Gum disease is caused by bacteria, and it usually appears around your gumline. Just like tooth decay, if we catch gum disease early, we can fix it.
However, once your gum disease progresses, we can stop it from spreading further, but we can't cure it. We also check for strange bumps and spots in your mouth that shouldn't be there. Even though these bumps and spots are usually painless, they may be a sign of oral cancer. The earlier we can get oral cancer treated, the greater your chance of survival, and the greater the chances are you won't have to have surgery.
If you have questions about dental exams, give Zhou Dental Care a call at 503-282-3884 today.