When you come in for dental exams and we have cleaned your teeth and gum line and removed any hardened plaque, our dentist can look at them for any signs of trouble, such as cavities, loose or broken teeth, damaged fillings, and evaluate your risk rate of certain diseases which might also take into account your family history. We will look for swelling in the gums or redness and bleeding and even measure the depth of gingival pockets signaling gum disease. We will evaluate your bite, determine if you have bruxism (a sign of teeth grinding), check the contact between teeth and examine the lower jaw joints for problems. We will also examine the soft tissues in your head, mouth and neck, including the lymph nodes, for any indications of cancer or infection. If problems are detected, you may require further diagnostics followed up with recommended treatment options. As you can see, this is one of the biggest reasons why dental checkups are so important, because spotting problems early on is crucial for providing effective, minimally invasive, and economical treatment. Using x-rays and other diagnostic tools, we can detect problems early when you may not even be aware of them, especially since tooth decay isn’t usually obvious or painful in the early stages. By the time you do notice problems, the condition has often already advanced. While most of the time you may need to see your dentist twice a year, there are circumstances that might require coming in more often, particularly since your oral health is directly related to your overall health and vice versa. For example, if you have a disease such as diabetes or heart disease you may be at greater risk of gum disease. If you have a weakened immune system, you will likely have a diminished ability to ward off infections and diseases. If you regularly use tobacco or are a heavy drinker, you are at greater risk of oral problems. Taking medications that result in dry mouth – a reduction in saliva production – puts you at higher risk of developing cavities. So be sure to let our dentist know what medications and supplements you are currently taking when you come in for your routine checkups. You can also let us know if you are noticing signs of tooth sensitivity, pain or an unusual lump. Again, the earlier a problem is addressed, the better the treatment success rate. If you would like to have our dentist and team provide you with a thorough dental cleaning and exam, we invite you to call our office to schedule an appointment. Our goal is to help you create the healthiest oral environment for your teeth and gums and we look forward to providing you with the quality care you deserve.