As the time rolls around for a routine dental checkup, you probably feel like you have a good grasp on what to expect. The reality is that, during these visits, your dentist in Houston is doing a lot more than you may think. Continue reading to learn about 10 steps that are taken to protect your oral health.
#1 – Oral Cancer Screening
Thousands of people succumb to oral cancer each year. In many cases, the condition can be successfully treated with early detection. At each visit, your dentist will examine your lips, head, neck and mouth visually and by touch to make sure there are no signs of oral cancer.
#2 – Tongue Examination
Your tongue plays an integral role in the condition of your oral health. Thus, your dentist will closely examine it to ensure it has a healthy size and texture. These two factors can determine much about your dental and overall health, such as the presence of infection, vitamin deficiency, fever or other issues.
#3 – Teeth Inspection
You can expect your dentist to carefully examine each of your teeth. This involves using a small mirror and dental explorer to probe for any possible issues. The dentist will also pay special attention to your tooth enamel (the outer layer) because it plays such an integral role in protecting the sensitive parts.
#4 – Salivary Gland Evaluation
When functioning properly, your saliva glands produce up to two pints of saliva each day. This is important because the fluid coats your mouth, helping to wash away bacteria and prevent plaque growth. A deficiency in this area can leave you susceptible to infection, bad breath and cavities. Thus, your dentist will be on the lookout for any abnormal mouth dryness.
#5 – Tonsil Examination
During your tonsil and throat examination, your dentist will carefully look for any signs of infection or swelling. Similar to the tongue, the tonsils can provide key insight into your oral and overall health.
#6 – Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Assessment
The TMJ is responsible for opening and closing your jaw and moving it in multiple directions, which is necessary for speaking, eating and leading a normal life. Your dentist will pay attention to this area to make sure it’s functioning properly.
#7 – Bite Inspection
Straight teeth provide more than just a nice smile. They also allow for a proper bite and the prevention of premature tooth wear, TMJ problems and even spinal misalignment. If your dentist notices any imbalances, orthodontics may be recommended.
#8 – Gum Examination
During your checkup, your dentist will closely look for any signs of bleeding, swelling, redness, puffiness or tenderness. He or she will also check to make sure there are no large gum pockets. Any of the above listed could be indicators of gum disease.
#9 – Oral Hygiene Instruction
Dental visits are quite educational. You can always count on your dentist or dental hygienist to gladly share tips on better ways to brush and floss your teeth so you can prevent future oral health problems.
#10 – The Establishment of a Dental Health Foundation
Patients’ needs can vary. Therefore, dentists and their staff take a cautious approach to providing care. This involves making sure all the basic needs are met, while offering encouragement and helpful instruction wherever it’s applicable. By giving some professional direction, dentists hope that patients will come to understand the importance of routine dental checkups and take an empowered approach to their oral health!
About the Author
Dr. Holly Boone earned her dental degree from the University of Florida College of Dentistry. An avid and active learner, she has completed several hours of continuing education. Additionally, Dr. Boone maintains professional affiliation with several organizations, including the Academy of General Dentistry and Texas Dental Association. She provides exceptional dental care at Tamborello Dental Associates, and she can be reached for more information or to schedule a dental visit through her website.