No More Natural Teeth: Deciding Between Implants and Dentures

3 Things You Might Not Expect During A Dental Examination And Cleaning

by Jeremiah Barnett

If it has been a while since you've visited a dentist for a cleaning and examination, some of the steps that take place during your visit might surprise you. While you will still get your teeth cleaned and have a dentist look at your teeth and mouth, there are three additional steps the dentist may take while you are there to help determine the health of your teeth and mouth.

Gum line measurement

One common step dentists often take during examinations involves gum line measurements. This is often called a periodontal exam, and it is a standard step during a typical six-month examination. During a periodontal exam, a hygienist will use a small probe to measure the pockets around each tooth in your mouth. The point is to look for signs of gum disease. During this exam, the hygienist will also look for swelling, redness, and bleeding with your gums, as these too are all signs of gum disease.

Oral cancer screening

Many dentists also perform oral cancer screenings during examinations too. This screening is used to locate signs of oral cancer, and your dentist will not only look inside your mouth during this, but he or she will also look under your tongue and feel the glands in your neck. The main things a dentist is looking for are lesions, bumps, growths, or irregularities in your gums. If the dentist finds suspicious growths or tissue, he or she will encourage you to get a biopsy. A biopsy involves having a small piece of the tissue removed and tested for cancer, and you may need to visit an oral surgeon to have this completed.

Panoramic x-rays

Some dentists also like to take panoramic x-rays of a person's mouth every few years just to see how all the teeth look altogether. This is accomplished through a panoramic x-ray, which is one picture of your entire mouth. Dentists do not always need to take panoramic x-rays, but they often will when they see teenagers or people experiencing problems with their wisdom teeth. Panoramic x-rays can reveal a lot of information about wisdom teeth, and that is one of the top reasons dentists take these x-rays.

Each of these services is important for preventative dental care, and you should not be surprised if your dentist recommends them at your next visit. To see a dentist for an examination, schedule an appointment with a clinic today.