Dental Exams and X-Rays
To maintain healthy teeth and gums, patients need to schedule routine dental examinations. These examinations can help in avoiding the financial costs that are associated with treatment plans later on for preventable conditions. The Academy of General Dentistry suggests patients consider two annual check-ups. This is for both children and adults. By having appointments scheduled six months apart, many dental problems can be diagnosed in the earlier stages, before they become difficult and expensive to treat.
How it’s done
During a dental examination, Dr. Knight first evaluates the mouth with a visual examination. This is done with special dental instruments such as high-intensity lights, mouth mirrors, and assorted dental tools. The dentist examines the smile for decayed or cracked teeth. He also reviews oral health with the following:
- Medical history – Dr. Knight will ask patients about new or existing illnesses and medical conditions that may affect their dental health. This includes prescription medications.
- Tooth decay – the entire smile will be evaluated to look for cracked and decayed teeth that need to be addressed with fillings.
- Oral cancer screenings – oral cancer is a concern that can be easily diagnosed with a physical examination and biopsy. Dr. Knight checks all areas of the mouth including the soft tissues, throat, tongue, lips, neck, and face for any signs of possible cancer.
- Periodontal evaluation – evidence of periodontal disease can be noticeable with an evaluation. The dentist will look for concerns around the gum tissues and the bone that may indicate an issue.
- Evaluation of existing dental restorations – fillings, crowns, bridges, and veneers are all examined to ensure they are in good order.
In addition to the actions above, Dr. Knight will also have patients undergo diagnostic x-rays. These can reveal any hidden problems in the areas below the gum tissues that cannot be seen during a physical evaluation. Bitewing x-rays may be done every year, while panographic x-rays are often done every 3-5 years.