Regular dental exams help protect your oral health and general well-being. The American Dental Association recommends that adults schedule regular dental exams at intervals determined by their dentist according to each patient’s individual needs, but at a minimum of once a year. During your exam, Dr. Patterson and our team of hygienists will thoroughly examine your teeth and gums for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, and other health problems. X-rays will be prescribed on an individual basis to determine if there are any concerns with your teeth or underlying bone. Periodontal charting helps to determine the current state of your gum health and preventive care needs. We may also capture intra-oral photographs to help you visualize what is happening in your mouth.
During a dental exam, we will also ask about any health problems you have or medications you’re taking and discuss how they might affect your oral health. If you have diabetes, for example, you’re at increased risk of gum disease. Any medication that contributes to dry mouth can increase your risk of tooth decay. If arthritis or mobility issues interfere with your ability to effectively brush your teeth, your hygienist will share tips, tricks, and tools to better maintain your oral health. Dental exams might also include counseling about diet, use of tobacco products, and other lifestyle factors that can affect oral health.
If you have prosthetic replacements — such as dentures, implants or bridges — your dentist and hygienist will examine how well they fit and discuss the need for adjustments.
Even if you no longer have your natural teeth, it’s important to see our office for regular dental exams to maintain your oral health and the usefulness of your replacement teeth.
ORAL CANCER EXAM
During your dental exam, our team of hygienists will thoroughly examine for signs of oral cancer and other diseases. During this screening, our hygienists will feel the area under your jaw and sides of your neck, the insides of your lips and cheeks, as well as the sides of your tongue, and roof and floor of your mouth. The incidence of oral cancer in the United States is on the rise. Our elevation and sun exposure here in Colorado has been found to further increase our risks of developing oral cancer. Additionally, some other forms of cancer and other diseases can cause changes in oral tissues. We keep a careful eye out for any abnormal changes in your mouth that may be indicative of other health problems.