A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by your dentist at your initial dental visit. At regular check-up exams, your dentist and hygienist will perform the following:
Examination of diagnostic digital images: Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. Digital images also help determine tooth and root positions.
Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
Gum disease evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
Examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.
Professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis) are usually performed by Registered Dental Hygienists. Your cleaning appointment will include a dental exam and the following:
Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease!
Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.
VELscope® Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer is often deemed the “forgotten disease,” because it kills more people than testicular cancer, cervical cancer and cancer of the brain each year and receives little publicity in return. Each year, over 30,000 Americans contract oral cancer, and only 57% of these people will live for more than five years without treatment.
The best way to stay protected from oral cancer is to get annual oral cancer screenings. Most dentists perform an oral cancer exam during a regular dental checkup. The FDA-approved VELscope® offers dentists another examination tool to help detect oral cancer in its earliest stages. The VELscope® is a blue excitation lamp, which highlights precancerous and cancerous cell changes.
The VELscope® uses Fluorescence Visualization (FV) in an exciting new way. Essentially, bright blue light is shone into the mouth to expose changes and lesions that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye. One of the biggest difficulties in diagnosing oral cancer is that its symptoms look similar to symptoms of less serious problems. The VELscope® System affords the dentist important insight as to what is happening beneath the surface.
The healthy soft tissue of the mouth naturally absorbs the VELscope® frequency of blue light. Healthy areas beneath the surface of the soft tissue show up green, and the problem areas become much darker.
An occlusal guard is an important way to prevent tooth fracture and enamel wear. Many people are unaware that they grind and clench their teeth because they do it during sleep. The term "Bruxism" refers to the habit of grinding or clenching your teeth. There are several signs and symptoms that manifest themselves in patients that have bruxism, including jaw pain, muscle tenderness, frequent headaches, broken and fractured teeth, abfractions of teeth, and more. An occlusal guard can not only be a remedy to these solutions, but also prevent further issues with the temporomandibular joint. It is recommended to get an occlusal guard from your dentist because it will be custom fit to your mouth. Also, the dentist will adjust the occlusion depending on the reason for your occlusal guard.