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April 11th, 2013

Your regular dental visits are important to give your dental team the opportunity to help you maintain maximal oral health.  There are multiple procedure accomplished during this visit to help diagnose and treat your teeth and oral tissues.
The visit starts with a review of your health history.  Any changes in your health and medications are important to convey to the staff. Next the hygienist or assistant will take x-rays, which are taken on a schedule from every 6 months to every year and a half, depending on your history of problems.
While the hygienist is cleaning your teeth, she is also checking the effectiveness of your oral hygiene and evaluating your basic periodontal health.  Checking for any areas of deeper pockets, bleeding, or other signs of disease, she will document them for the dentist to look at during the final exam.
The dentist will then come and do a complete examination of the teeth and soft tissues.  The x-rays will be checked and any significant changes in medical history will be reviewed at this time also.  He may probe the gum pockets to check for periodontal disease in a procedure called a PSR (Periodontal Screening and Recording).  This is a basic screening for gum disease and may indicate the need for more involved evaluation.  Additionally, he will check the tongue, cheeks, lips, palate and throat for signs of oral cancer.
If there is simple treatment to be done, it will often be described at this time and appointments will be scheduled.  If there is a need for more discussion, then a future appointment will be made for a consultation with the dentist or a staff member.  These periodic appointments are critical to help you maintain oral health and to diagnose and treat any problems early.
Your regular dental exams allow for the dental team to find any problems early and lead to simple procedures to correct them.  Additionally, if there are any signs that oral problems may be prevented, the team members can suggest a preventive regimen.  After all, the best dentistry is no dental treatment at all.

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