If you've not been to a dentist since you were a kid, you may be wondering what to expect if you decide to go. Even if you've been lucky enough to avoid dental problems and toothaches, it's still a good idea to see a dentist for a checkup, especially if it has been years since your last one. The first visit may only consist of an examination, with treatment and cleaning scheduled for future visits. Here are some things the dentist looks for when you get a checkup.
Indications Of Gum Disease
If your gums are a little swollen or red, it could indicate that you have early gum disease. If you do, you may have noticed bleeding when you brush your teeth. More advanced gum disease may show symptoms of infections around the gums and pockets where the gums pull away from the teeth. The dentist can measure the depth of the pockets to determine how advanced the gum disease has become. Catching gum disease early is important because treatment can reverse the problem and save your teeth from getting loose and falling out. Severe gum disease can even infect your bone, so if you have it, you want to know it and get it treated.
Evidence Of Oral Cancer And Other Medical Problems
Your dentist will also look for signs of cancer in your mouth and alert you so you can undergo further testing. Cancer can show up as bumps or lesions on the gums or roof of your mouth. Other medical conditions can show up in your mouth too. Your dentist may suspect you have diabetes due to changes in your mouth or signs on an x-ray might indicate you have osteoporosis. If signs of a medical condition are detected, you'll be informed so you can seek a diagnosis and treatment from your family doctor.
Signs Of Cavities And Tooth Problems
The dentist examines your teeth visually to look for cavities, and how strong your teeth are seated in your gums. He or she also looks for signs of wear that could indicate you grind your teeth at night. The amount of tartar and plaque buildup is also noted, and the dentist may note if you have bad breath due to a dental problem or if your mouth seems dry. In addition to a visual examination, your dentist will probably have x-rays done on your teeth since x-rays can detect problems not visible by the eye.
With all the information obtained during the checkup, your dentist can identify all your dental problems if you have any, and come up with a treatment plan that allows them to be fixed before they progress. However, your next appointment will probably consist of a thorough cleaning to remove plaque and tartar so your teeth are as clean as possible before any dental work begins. To learn more, contact a dental office like Professional Dental Center.