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Routine Dental Exam

September 23rd, 2011

When you come in for your routine 6 month visit, your dentist will examine your mouth at some point in the visit.  What is he looking for?
First, your dental team will review your medical history and note any updates.  New medications and conditions should be reported and discussed.  These can impact your dental health, and your dental conditions may affect them as well.
Next, the teeth are examined for any sign of decay or mechanical wear or breakage that may need restoration.  This includes evaluation of gum line wear that may need to be restored as well.  Previous restorations and crowns are checked to ensure integrity of the margins and tight contacts that don’t trap food.  X-rays are reviewed at this time also.
The gums are checked for health.  This may include a PSR (Periodontal
Screening and Recording) to look for signs of early gum disease by probing around the teeth.  Your oral hygiene effectiveness will be checked and home care procedures will be reviewed if necessary.
Any removable full or partial dentures are checked for their fit and function.  Adjustments may be made at this time if they are minor, or a follow-up appointment may be necessary.
Finally, an oral cancer screening exam is done.  All the soft tissues in and around the mouth are checked for any sign of disease.  Early diagnosis of these problems can be life saving.
While the exam is often quick, much training and experience are applied to ensure health.
How frequent should your exams be?  That depends on multiple factors.  Your dental office will evaluate your status, including factors related to tooth decay, periodontal disease, symptoms related to the teeth, and systemic disease that may affect the teeth.  Talk to your dental office staff to see how to best handle the scheduling of your regular check-ups.

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