Most of the time, when someone talks about going to the dentist, an individual will say that they’re going to the dentist for “just a cleaning”. “Just a cleaning” is far from the truth, as your dentist checks for so much more during your appointments! Read on to learn about the things your dentist checks during your check-up that you might not have known about.
1. Oral Cancer Screening: Did you know that your dentist checks for oral cancer each time you visit for a six-month check-up? For cancer prevention efforts, your dentist will check your lips, head, neck, and mouth tissues like the tongue’s surface for any visible signs of oral cancer. They will look for any abnormalities within the mouth or symptoms that could possibly lead to oral cancer.
2. Examining Your Tongue: Upon a closer examination of the tongue, your dentist will check the size and texture of the tongue to ensure a healthy mouth. Your tongue’s size and surface can determine a lot about your dental health, as well as your overall health.
3. Checking Each Tooth: Your dentist will always check each and every one of your visible teeth during a dental check-up. Your dentist will take a small mirror and a dental “explorer” to check each tooth for any health concerns. They will pay close attention to the strength of the outer layer of the teeth, called the enamel. Stress could cause dental problems like teeth grinding at night, nail biting, or chewing objects.
4. Inspecting Salivary Glands: Your dentist will check your salivary glands to make sure they are producing an adequate amount of saliva. An adequate amount of saliva is important because it coats your mouth and helps to wash away bacteria. Without adequate saliva production, your teeth and mouth are more prone to cavities, bacteria, infection, as well as bad breath.
5. Examining Your Tonsils: Your dentist will take a close look at your tonsils and throat for any signs of infection or swelling. Like the tongue, the tonsils can also tell a lot about any health concerns present in the body.
6. Checking Your Temporomandibular Joint: Your what?! Your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is the joint that connects the jawbone and the jaw together! Your dentist will make sure this joint and your bite is working together properly.
7. Examining Your Bite: Your dentist will check your bite and alignment to see if your teeth have moved recently. If your dentist suggests that braces would be a suitable treatment plan for your bite and smile, they will recommend you see a specialized dentist trained in orthodontics, called an “orthodontist”.
8. Examining Your Gums: Your dentist will always examine your gums thoroughly during your dental check-ups. They will look for any signs of bleeding or swelling on the gums, as well as large gum pockets, both of which are signs of unhealthy gums and/or gum disease.
9.Teaching Proper Oral Hygiene Habits: Your dentist will spend time during your appointment teaching proper oral hygiene habits, proper brushing technique, how to floss, and the importance of when to brush and why!
10. Building a Dental Foundation To Last: Here at Little Teeth Big Smiles, we introduce dentistry to children in a positive and calm way. We introduce children to all the different dental instruments, (with kid-friendly verbiage) the overall environment at a dental office, and we help children get accustomed to a dentist looking in their mouth twice a year. Positive experiences at a young age can truly affect a child’s experience at the dentist, which in turn sets the record for how they perceive the dentist as they get older. If you start off with a great experience, you’re going to continue having a positive view of dental offices. We strive to create a fun and pleasant experience to set the right tone for children as they get older.
Your dental appointments are so much more than a cleaning! Not only is a cleaning often paired with a fluoride treatment, and xrays, (recommended once a year) but all ten of the above steps are also paired with almost every cleaning you receive from your dentist. Ensuring that every nook and cranny of your mouth is healthy, clean, and normal sets the tone for healthy oral hygiene for years to come.
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