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How Long Do Dental Exams Take?
A comprehensive dental exam takes about one hour, including the time needed to have x-rays taken. Most people know they should see a dentist twice a year for a routine check-up, but we see many new patients who have not seen a dentist in a long time. We strive to make our patients comfortable. Lecturing is counterproductive; it makes people leery of having an exam after delaying their visit. We like our patients to know we are happy to see them. If you see a dentist regularly, he or she can fix small problems before they turn into painful, emergency issues. Catching the following issues early will save you money, time, and possibly pain:
- Cracked or chipped teeth
- Loose fillings
- Loose teeth
- Problems with your bite
- Worn down teeth
- Gum disease, including gingivitis and periodontal disease
- Oral cancer
You can expect your exam to last about an hour. After your dental exam, your dentist will talk to you about the results. He or she will also leave time for you to ask questions and discuss any concerns you have about your oral health. Please feel free to ask our staff questions about your dental insurance, payment options or scheduling your next exam. If you need a comprehensive dental exam in Oxon Hill, please phone our office to arrange an appointment.
Who Should I See for a Teeth Cleaning or Gum Disease Treatment?
We firmly believe everyone should have their teeth cleaned twice a year regardless of how diligent they are about their dental hygiene. It is impossible to reach every area of your mouth; plaque and tartar build up in the most difficult to reach places. Only a dentist or a hygienist can scrape off tartar safely. During your exam, your hygienist will polish your teeth with a mildly abrasive paste. This not only removes stains, it leaves your teeth silky smooth. Finally, you will have your teeth professionally flossed. You will also have the option of having a fluoride treatment. Generally, patients schedule a cleaning when they are already coming in for their routine exam. The process takes about an hour, including the time your hygienist spends going over suggestions to improve your oral hygiene.
If you notice that your gums are red, swollen and bleed easily, you probably have gingivitis, a form of gum disease that needs immediate treatment. Fortunately, the treatment is simple; a dental cleaning usually reverses the disease. Gingivitis, if not treated promptly, can turn into periodontal disease, a much more serious form of gum disease. Periodontal treatment is necessary to halt the progression of the disease, which can cause your gums to recede and the tissue and bone that holds your teeth in place to deteriorate. If you need treatment for periodontal disease, contact our office. We offer various treatments to help prevent tooth loss.
Are There Dental Bad Breath Cures?
Seeing a dentist for bad breath will help you find a cure instead of a product that simply covers it up. Poor oral hygiene is usually the culprit. A dental cleaning will give you a fresh start and our dentist will suggest products for you to use, such as an antibacterial mouthwash. Diligent oral hygiene should have your breath smelling fresh and clean. Dental problems, including decay, loose or missing fillings and gum disease, will also cause bad breath. If you have chronic dry mouth, your dentist may suggest artificial saliva or chewing on a stick of sugarless gum. Increasing your saliva production helps wash away food particles that can cause bad breath. If you would like to eliminate bad breath, call our office to arrange an appointment.
Do I Really Need an Oral Cancer Screening with My Routine Exam?
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, close to 49,750 will receive an oral cancer diagnosis this year and the disease will cause more than 9,500 deaths. It’s unfortunate, since early detection greatly increases a person’s chance of survival. We choose to screen all adult patients during their routine dental examination. A screening does not indicate your dentist feels you may have oral cancer; it is just a precaution. While tobacco use and drinking heavily increase the risk of oral cancer, no one is immune. The screening is simple; your dentist will look for bleeding sores, white or reddish patches of skin, thickening skin and unexplained lumps. If you notice any of these symptoms, call us right away.
If you need a dental exam in Oxon Hill and would like one that includes a screening for oral cancer, phone our office to set up an appointment.