What Are Preventative Dental Exams?
At our office, we prefer to prevent dental problems, rather than treating them. An absence of pain does not mean you don’t have any dental problems. Decay and oral cancer don’t cause pain until they become major problems. While we recommend twice a year dental checkups, we will never lecture you if you come in for a dental exam after not having one for a long time. After all, going to the dentist’s office isn’t most people’s idea of fun. Our goal is to make our patients who want to take charge of their oral health again comfortable. During your exam, our dentist will:
- Order x-rays
- Ask about your dental and medical health
- Check your teeth for decay
- Check each tooth for chips or cracks
- Evaluate your gums for signs of gum disease
- Check existing restorations
- Look for signs of teeth grinding and uneven wear
- Check your bite
- Perform a screening for mouth cancer
Our dentist will ask you to return in six months if you are at risk for decay or gum disease, or in a year if you enjoy excellent oral health. If you have dental insurance coverage, it typically covers routine exams. If you don’t have insurance, dental exams are a worthwhile investment because your dentist can catch cavities and other issues before they turn into expensive emergency problems. If you need a dental exam in Baltimore, phone our office to request an appointment.
Who Offers Dental Cleanings and Gum Disease Treatment?
We urge our patients to schedule a teeth cleaning with our dental hygienist every six months when they come in for their routine dental exam. Cleanings remove plaque and tartar from teeth, which helps prevent decay, gingivitis, and periodontal disease because plaque contains bacteria. After the cleaning, your teeth will feel silky smooth and look brighter. A polishing with gritty prophylaxis paste will remove minor stains, so your teeth will also appear whiter. Dental cleanings are usually painless treatments and take between 30 to 60 minutes.
Gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums, is the mildest form of gum disease. You may notice that your gums are red, not a healthy pink, and they bleed when you brush or floss your teeth. If you don’t seek treatment, the disease may progress to periodontal disease or inflammation around the tooth below the gum line. If this happens, periodontal treatment is necessary to avoid eventual tooth loss as the bacteria can destroy the bone that supports your tooth and keeps it firmly in your mouth. Not everyone who has gingivitis gets periodontal disease; however, everyone with periodontal disease started with gingivitis. During your dental exam, our dentist will check for signs of gingivitis to prevent its potential progression to a more advanced form of gum disease. Contact our office right away if you believe you have gingivitis.
Can I Get a Bad Breath Cure from a Dentist?
Do you step back when people stand close to talk to you? Having bad breath causes embarrassment in professional and social situations. If you make an appointment, our dentist can determine the cause so you don’t have to keep breath mints with you at all times. A professional cleaning will remove odor-causing plaque from your teeth and then you’ll learn how to keep plaque away with dentist-recommended products, such as antibacterial mouthwash and a tongue scraper. If your oral hygiene habits are not the cause of your bad breath, our dentist will look for decay or loose fillings and crowns trapping plaque where your toothbrush can’t reach. Gum disease can also cause bad breath. Give one of our 12 offices a call to arrange an appointment with our dentist and get rid of your bad breath instead of covering it up.
How Prevalent Is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer screenings are important because oral cancer kills more in the U.S. than skin cancer and it is now more prevalent than leukemia. Most people don’t notice small white patches of skin or other symptoms under their tongue or on the roof of their mouth because we rarely look there. Regular dental exams are important because dentists will perform a painless oral cancer screening during a routine exam. Catching mouth cancer early and beginning treatment will increase your chance of survival. You don’t have to smoke to get oral cancer; non-smokers and people who don’t drink in excess also get oral cancer. Ask your dentist about how you can reduce your chance of getting oral cancer. We recommend all adults get screened at least once a year.
If you need a dental exam in Baltimore with a screening for oral cancer, phone our office to set up your appointment.
Valley Dental Associates at (443) 898-1240, Dental One Associates of Westminster at (410) 970-0292, Dental One Associates of Pikesville at (443) 898-1231, Dental One Associates of Bel Air at (410) 698-1674, Dental One Associates of Frederick at (301) 862-6783, Dental One Associates of Cross Keys at (443) 863-6394, Dental One Associates at Beltway at (410) 775-5536, Drs. Lasher and Harriman at Dental One Associates of Waldorf at (301) 861-0665, Dental One Associates of Oxon Hill at (240) 766-8568, Dental One Associates at Steeplechase at (240) 392-3983, Dental One Associates of Columbia at (410) 346-2350, or Dental One Associates of Annapolis at (410) 793-4922.