We all know that regular dental exams and cleanings are the best way to protect your smile. Daily brushing and flossing aren’t always enough to prevent the damage done by tooth decay, gum disease, and other issues, so a regularly scheduled checkup and cleaning is the best way to remove the plaque and tartar that brushing and flossing can’t, as well as spot any potential dental problems in their earliest and most treatable stages.
Without these routine examinations, your oral health could deteriorate to the point where a tooth extraction, root canal, or similar procedure may be necessary. But what exactly is your dentist looking for during your dental exam?
What Happens During a Dental Checkup?
During your appointment at The Dental Space, our dentists provide preventive dental care, including oral hygiene, and examine patients for signs of oral diseases and other problems. This can include:
- Removing tartar, stains, and plaque from teeth
- The application of sealants and fluorides to help protect teeth
- Taking and developing dental x rays
- Assessing a patients’ oral health
- Documenting patient care and treatment plans
- Educating and advising patients about good personal oral hygiene practices, such as the correct ways to brush and floss.
When a dentist assesses a patient’s oral health during a dental exam, what kind of problems are they looking for?
One of the things your dentist will look for is tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when acids eat through the tooth’s enamel, allowing bacteria to infect the inside of the tooth. If areas of decay are observed, your dentist will take some x-rays to determine the extent of the damage. The goal is to identify and treat sites of tooth decay before dental crowns, fillings, root canals or tooth extractions are necessary.
Periodontal, or gum, diseases can result from numerous causes, including inadequate oral care. Gingivitis is one of the most common gum diseases. The problem with gum disease is that it may take a while for the symptoms to show themselves. Dentists are trained to spot the early signs of gum disease. They’ll check your gums for signs of inflammation, discoloration or gum tissue recession and ask you if you’ve been experiencing any pain. Your dentist will consult with you to determine the best course of treatment based on the severity of your symptoms.
Cracked or Broken Teeth
It’s very possible to suffer a dental trauma and not be aware that your teeth have been damaged. Fine, hairline cracks in the tooth’s enamel may not be noticeable at first. However, left untreated, these cracks can expand, weakening the structure of the tooth and putting it at risk of other serious problems. If detected early enough, minor cracks can often be filled or resurfaced; major cracks may require more extensive treatment.
Abscesses and Other Oral Infections
In addition to tooth decay, gum disease, and damaged teeth, your dentist will look for other problems, such as a tooth abscess, canker sore, or other oral infection. Symptoms of oral infection can include pain, bad breath, and fever.
An abscess is a tiny pocket of pus caused by an untreated cavity or dental injury. In some cases, the abscess can be treated with antibiotics. If the damage is too extensive, a root canal or extraction procedure may be necessary.
Canker sores are ulcers that appear in the mouth. They may be painful, but usually, resolve themselves within a week or two. Mouth rinses and medications like lidocaine are used to treat the pain.
Schedule Your Dental Exam in San Marcos, TX Today
If it’s been a while since you’ve had a dental exam and professional teeth cleaning, contact The Dental Space, San Marcos’s favorite family dental clinic. Dr. McCartor and his team of experts are dedicated to providing the highest level of dental care to patients in San Marcos, TX, and surrounding communities. We always welcome new patients — even those as young as six months.
If a problem is found during the examination, we can deliver a solution. The Dental Space offers a wide range of dental care, including fillings, crowns, home teeth whitening, dentures, and tooth extractions.
The Dental Space is a new kind of family dental clinic. Our goal is to alleviate the negative expectations people have when they visit the dentist. We want to put our patients at ease. Our waiting area is full of video games and movie memorabilia; our state-of-the-art dental suites provide patients with the option of watching a movie or television or listening to music.
The Dental Space is located just off IH 35 in the Springtown Center Shopping Mall. We accept most forms of dental insurance and offer patients a range of payment options.