A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by your dentist at your initial dental visit. At regular check-up exams, your dentist and hygienist will include the following:
- Examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
- Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
- Gum disease evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
- Examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
- Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.
Professional Dental Cleaning
- Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
- Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease!
- Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling
Dental radiographs (x-rays) are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam. Dentists and dental hygienists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and complete an accurate treatment plan. Without x-rays, problem areas may go undetected.
Dental x-rays may reveal:
- Abscesses or cysts
- Bone loss
- Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors
- Decay between the teeth
- Developmental abnormalities
- Poor tooth and root positions
- Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line
Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!
Are dental x-rays safe?
We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. The amount of radiation exposure from a full mouth series of x-rays is equal to the amount a person receives in a single day from natural sources.
Dental x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered safe. Dentists take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation when taking dental x-rays. These precautions include using lead apron shields to protect the body and using modern, fast film that cuts down the exposure time of each x-ray.
How often should dental x-rays be taken?
The need for dental x-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs. Your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend necessary x-rays based on the review of your medical and dental history, dental exam, signs and symptoms, age consideration, and risk for disease.
A full mouth series of dental x-rays is recommended for new patients. A full series is usually good for three to five years. Bite-wing x-rays (x-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together) are taken at recall (check-up) visits and are recommended once or twice a year to detect new dental problems.
Our staff loves children and are passionate about providing them with the best possible dental care in a fun and positive environment. When your child is here, you can rest assured that they are always treated with the utmost patience, compassion, and care. Each of our staff members has undergone extensive training working with children and teens, and we stay abreast of the latest and advances by regularly attending seminars and continuing education courses.
In addition to providing top-quality care to our patients, we also strive to develop strong relationships with parents in the practice. Our goal is to work together with you as partners in your child’s oral health, and we want you to feel comfortable talking to us and asking questions. If you have anything you’d like to talk to us about, you can send us an email or call our office anytime.
Bruxism, or Teeth Grinding
Bruxism is the clenching or grinding of the teeth that often occurs while a person is sleeping. The symptoms of bruxism are:
- A sore, tired jaw
- Difficulty in opening and closing your mouth
- Sensitive teeth
- Earaches or pain in jaw joint
Bruxism can cause other dental problems. When you brux, the force on your teeth is many times greater than during normal chewing. These forces can cause:
- Flattened or worn-down teeth
- Teeth chipped at the gumline
- Loose teeth
- Damage to the bone around your teeth
- Damage to your jaw joints
No matter what is causing your bruxism, it’s important to treat it early on to prevent damage and restore harmony in your mouth.
Though all of the causes are not known, stress is often a factor. If this is the case, a variety of stress reduction techniques may be recommended. We may also recommend medication to temporarily reduce stress and relieve pain.
Sometimes, spaces between the teeth, worn teeth, or teeth that are out of alignment may cause bruxism. Crowns, bridges, or other dental restorations can restore your bite and eliminate grinding and clenching.
A common and effective treatment for stopping the damage caused by bruxism is the use of a nightguard. A nightguard is a plastic device that fits over the top of your bottom teeth to protect them from the damage caused by grinding. A custom nightguard, made from models of your teeth usually offers the best protection.