Dental Exams

Dental Exams

On your initial visit for dental exams, the dentist will perform a comprehensive dental exam. After that the following may be included in your next exam:

  • Oral Cancer Screening: The following will be checked during the screening. The neck, face lips, throat, tongue, gums and tissues.
  • Examination or diagnostic X-rays (radiographs): This is done to detect any form of tumour, decay, cyst or bone loss. X-rays can also detect the positions of the tooth and root.
  • Examination of tooth decay: The dentist will check the surface of all teeth with a special dental instrument for signs of decay.
  • Gum disease evaluation: The dentist will check for signs of periodontal disease by examining the gums and the bone surrounding the teeth.
  • Examination of existing restorations: Here the crowns and current fillings are checked.
Professional Dental Cleaning

A registered dental hygienist performs the dental cleaning procedure, otherwise known as dental prophylaxis. A professional dental cleaning includes the following:

  • Dental exam
  • Removal of Plague: Plague is known as the sticky invisible film that develops on the surface inflamed by the toxins produced by the bacteria.
  • Removal of Calculus (tartar): A plague that has been on the tooth for a long time becomes hardened and is referred to as calculus. It is firmly attached to the surface of the tooth. Calculus is hardened but can be removed by a special dental instrument.
  • Teeth polishing: This is a process whereby the plague and stains that could not be removed by tooth brushing and scaling are removed.
Oral Cancer Examination

Research has proven that more than 30,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed every year. This research was carried out by the American Cancer Society. It also stated that over 7,000 cases result in the death of the individuals. This form of cancer can easily be diagnosed during an annual oral cancer examination. If diagnosed early, it can be effectively treated.
Oral cancer starts with an asymptomatic stage and takes a pathological process. Signs of cancer may not be noticeable at the early stage. This is why it is crucial to undergo the oral cancer examination. Oral cancer can assure different types like the melanoma, teratoma, and the adenocarcinoma. The lips and mouth are usually the starting point for oral cancer, and the malignant squamous cell carcinoma is usually the most common type of oral cancer.
Oral cancer commonly occurs in different sites in the oral cavity and the maxillofacial region. These include; the mouth, lips, tongue, gums, salivary glands, face and the throat.

Reasons for Cancer Examination

Some modifiable behaviours like excessive alcohol consumption and smoking tobacco may result in oral cancer. Lifestyle changes may be efficacious in the prevention of oral cancer. Treatment of oral cancer is very effective when diagnosed in the early stage. During oral cancer exam, the dentist should watch out for signs in the gums, mouth, tongue and the surrounding area.
Signs that will be investigated during oral cancer exam include leukoplakia, red patches and sores and lumps.

Oral Cancer Exams Diagnosis and Treatment

The process is painless. First, the dentist feels the gland, neck, face and unusual bumps and then implement a treatment plan if he notices any abnormality like lumps, lesions and leukemia. He may also do a biopsy if the initial treatment did not work.
A broken basement membrane of the epithelium signifies oral cancer. Malignant cancers can easily spread to other parts of the body.

Digital X-Rays

Digital X-Ray uses electronic sensor and is the latest technology in the diagnosis of dental diseases. The image obtained can be enlarged and viewed by the dentist to identify the problem. Dental X-rays provide information that may not be found during a regular dental exam and here are some problems is may reveal:

  • Bone loss
  • Noncancerous or cancerous tumors
  • Cysts or abscesses
  • Decay between the teeth
  • Poor tooth and root position
  • Problems below the gumline or inside the tooth
  • Developmental abnormalities
Are Dental X-Rays safe?

Digital dental X-rays are safer that the traditional ones. It produces a very low level of radiation and reduces the time spent by a patient in the dentist office.