WHY YOU NEED A DENTAL EXAMINATION EVERY YEAR
No tooth pain means no dental problems, right? Not always. If you're only visiting the dentist when you have a problem, you're doing yourself a huge disservice. A dental exam is an important part of preventive oral health care. Annual dental exams by a board-certified dentist in Austin, TX are designed to help catch small problems before they become painful and improve your oral health so you can avoid future issues. At Meadows Dental Care, our skilled team offers annual dental exams for babies, children, teens, adults, and seniors as part of a proactive health plan. No matter your age or how long it's been since you visited the dentist, schedule a dental exam for yourself and everyone in your family at our dental practice in Austin, TX.
BABY'S FIRST DENTAL EXAMINATION
It's never too early to start visiting the dentist. Before your child celebrates their first birthday, they should also celebrate their first visit to the dentist. At your baby's first dental examination, the dentist will check the health of their gums and monitor their baby teeth as they start to come in. During a baby's first dental exam, your dentist can give you advice on improving your child's dental health, including tips on brushing, and answer questions on things, like thumb sucking and bottle rot. While your baby's first dental check-up shouldn't take long, it can be very important for their future health.
ESTABLISHING GOOD HABITS IN CHILDREN
If you have children, it's important to make sure they are going to the dentist every year for a dental exam. This helps establish healthy habits that will give them a lifetime of better oral health. During a child's annual exam, the dentist will typically check for cavities and other problems. The dentist will also check your child's brushing habits and may offer some tips to help improve their oral health at home. Your dentist can also help you determine if and when your child should visit an orthodontist to fix their bite.
OVERCOMING DENTAL FEARS
Many adults avoid their annual dental examination because of anxiety or a fear of the dentist (dentophobia). At Meadows Dental Care, we do our best to understand and alleviate your fears so you can have a positive experience. Our team will take the time to explain what will happen before we begin your oral health examination and give you as many breaks as you need to feel comfortable. We also offer multiple types of sedation that may be used during your routine visits to help you relax. For most patients, nitrous oxide gas (also known as laughing gas) or an oral-conscious sedation medication (typically a prescription anti-anxiety medicine, like Halcion or Valium) can be used to keep you awake, but calm and relaxed during your appointment. If you or your child need sedation dentistry, you will need a consultation with your dentist before your actual dental exam to determine if sedation can be safely used, which is most effective for your needs, what you should expect during your visit, and if you will be able to drive afterward.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING YOUR DENTAL EXAMINATION
There are five main steps to a basic dental examination — digital x-rays, checking for cavities, checking for gum disease, an oral cancer check, and a consultation. Depending on your oral health, your dental exam may be very short or it could take a little longer.
- ORAL CANCER CHECK
An important part of every dental exam is checking for symptoms of oral cancer. This starts with a visual inspection of your gums, soft tissue, tongue, and lips as your dentist looks for abnormalities. After this, they will palpate your jaw and throat to check for lumps. If your dentist finds any early symptoms of oral cancer, they can refer you to an oncologist for a diagnosis and treatment.
- GUM DISEASE CHECK
If your gums are red or inflamed, your dentist will check the depth of your gum pockets. If they are greater than three millimeters, they may recommend a scaling and root planing procedure to remove buildup and restore your gums.
- CAVITY CHECK
During your cleaning, your dental team will check for decay in your enamel. This may include using a digital cavity detector or using a manual tool to look for weak areas of enamel. If an area is weak, but a cavity hasn't yet formed, you may be able to avoid a filling with a professional fluoride treatment and good home oral care.
After your dental exam is complete, your dentist will talk to you about any problems they found. If there are any problems, your dentist will discuss your treatment options and develop your custom plan. This is a good time to ask your dental team any questions you may have or have them check your brushing and flossing technique.
- DIGITAL X-RAYS
During your annual dental exam, a basic series of digital x-rays will be taken so your dentist can see hidden problems, like impacted teeth, dental abscesses, and areas of decay. Every few years, your dentist may recommend a full mouth series, which will capture your teeth, gums, and jawbone. This helps your dentist look for damage to your jaw, cysts, and other problems.
CATCH PROBLEMS EARLY WITH A DENTAL EXAM
Make sure you and your family have beautiful, healthy smiles by scheduling annual dental examinations with a board-certified dentist in Austin, TX. Regular dental exams check for common oral health issues (for example, cavities and gum disease) so you can stop or treat them before they become big, painful problems. At Meadows Dental Care, we offer dental exams for patients of all ages. Our team is gentle and compassionate so you have a positive experience at the dentist's office, which makes is easier to come back every year. If you have dental fears or anxiety about visiting the dentist, ask about scheduling a consultation for sedation dentistry to keep you calm and relaxed during your dental examination. We hope to see you and your whole family soon!