Oral Exams and X-Rays
Routine oral exams are important to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Additionally, they can help to avoid the financial costs associated with large treatment plans later on. The Academy of General Dentistry recommends twice yearly checkups for people of all ages. At this frequency, most problems can be caught while they remain in an early stage.
How it's done
The dentist first examines your mouth visually, using dental equipment such as mouth mirrors, dental picks, and high intensity lights. The dentist will
- Review your medical history to assess how any new medical conditions or illnesses may affect your dental health
- Examine for tooth decay
- Screen for oral cancer of the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums
- Evaluate gums and bone around the teeth for any evidence of periodontal disease
- Examine existing dental restorations to make sure they are in good order.
Additionally, your dentist will take diagnostic x-rays to reveal any other hidden problems, especially in the areas below the gums. Bitewing x-rays are typically taken every 12 months and a panoramic x-ray, which revolves around the head, is taken every 3 years.