If you're like most people, you go to the dentist because that is what you have been told to do. You likely want to preserve your teeth and prevent complications. Even if you did not go to the dentist often as a child, you may view it as a necessity now that you are an adult. You may be clueless about what dentists and their staff members such as dental hygienists do when they perform dental exams.
Most people are appreciative when they hear the good news that their oral health is good, but sometimes the news may be related to interventions needed to preserve oral health. The broad spectrum of outcomes leaves some individuals wondering what might happen during their dental exams. The following are a few things a dentist might look for during an exam.
Signs of Cancer
Dentists perform this check during examinations to identify abnormalities that could be signs of oral cancer. They will likely not make a diagnosis of cancer after an exam, but if they see precursors, you will likely need to get a follow-up appointment. This appointment may occur with a different type of health professional such as an oncologist. A biopsy, which is a sample of tissue, as well as other tests can usually determine if you have oral cancer or pre-cancerous cells. Even if you do not have oral cancer, you might be advised to stop certain activities such as using tobacco in any form.
Signs of Dry Mouth
Some individuals may not know that they have a dry mouth. It is possible for the onset of dry mouth to occur later in life. Dry mouth can cause certain problems such as offensive breath odors. Tongue observations are also performed during dental exams, and the presence of a white coating on the surface of the tongue is one indicator that could suggest individuals have dry mouth conditions. The salivary glands in the mouth may not secrete adequate saliva, which is needed to prevent dry mouth.
Signs of Decay
Do not make the mistake of thinking that excessive consumption of sweets and poor oral hygiene are the only things that put you at risk for tooth decay. Smoking and dry mouth are two things that can also encourage tooth decay. There is also a misconception that teeth with decay will have a dark appearance or cause toothaches. Some cavities are translucent or light in appearance. They may be light to the point that they cannot be identified with the naked eye. Dentists have the equipment needed to identify early signs of decay, which can preserve teeth. This is why no one should overlook the importance of including a dentist in their overall health regime.
For more information, contact a dentist.