If you have not visited a dental clinic in several years, your dental examination might be a little different than what you remember. Dentists still perform cleanings and physical examinations of teeth during cleanings, but here are three additional things they might do during your next dental exam.
1. Gum measurement
One step dentists take now is measuring a person's gums, and this is something most dentists do once each year. They track these measurements and compare them each year to see if a person's gums are receding and how quickly they are receding. When a dentist measures your gums, he or she is basically looking at the pockets, which are the areas between the teeth and gum lines. These pockets should be small in size if your gums are healthy. If they are too large, it typically indicates gum disease. The depth of the pockets will also reveal what stage of gum disease a person has.
2. Oral cancer screening
One of the last steps dentists complete during exams is an oral cancer screening. This test is done simply by the dentist looking and feeling around your mouth and neck. The purpose is to locate any bumps or lumps and suspicious growths in your mouth. If your dentist sees something suspicious, he or she will want you to follow up on that by visiting an oral surgeon or doctor. If you are told to do this, you should make sure you do, as whatever the dentist saw could be something harmful to your health.
3. Panoramic x-rays
The other thing your dentist may recommend is taking panoramic x-rays. A panoramic x-ray is a large x-ray that shows all of your teeth in one picture. This x-ray also shows the jawbone and other areas of the mouth. Most dentists do not take these types of x-rays often, but they may take them like every four or five years.
They can be especially helpful for younger people who may have wisdom teeth growing in, and they can be helpful for a person who is planning on getting braces in the near future. You do not have to get this x-ray taken, but you should if your dentist recommends it for any reason.
These three things are not completed at all dental visits, but dentists do like to perform them periodically. If you would like to schedule your dental exams, contact a clinic today.