Why you need a dental examination and Why is it important
Our oral health has been very strongly correlated to overall systemic health. Poor oral health has been linked to over 120 of the major systemic health conditions that we battle on a regular basis. Examples of that would be heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, diabetes, asthma, Alzheimer's, cancers. So it's very clear that if we want to have a long and healthy life, we need to do everything we can to keep our oral health as excellent as possible. This becomes important because changes can occur in our gum tissue, in our tooth structure, in the supporting bone very, very rapidly and many times it's without the patient realizing that it is occurring.
So regular dental examinations give us the opportunity to identify and hopefully prevent or treat many significant issues that allow us to save more teeth and hopefully minimize the effects of the harmful oral bacteria on our overall systemic health.
How often should you have a dental examination or dental checkup
For most people, we want you to have a cleaning every six months and a dental exam and dental x-rays, very important, every 12 months. Examinations and x-rays can be extended to every 18 months if absolutely necessary. So people immediately will say, well, why so often? That seems really frequent. And the answer is that oral changes, harmful changes to the teeth and gum tissues in the right circumstances can progress very rapidly, many times without people being aware that the changes are occurring.
So having more frequent examinations allows us to identify problems that need solving and also look for clues to potential future problems that we could manage with early preventive care rather than surgical care down the road. This frequency is supported not only by all of the latest research, but it is also required by all of the federal and state health agencies and licensure boards as part of what's called a standard of care.
Can dental checkups help prevent oral health issues?
Absolutely, by frequently examining patients, we can find not only newly acquired health care issues that need some attention, but we can also look for signs that there are future potential problems around the road and hopefully manage those with preventive measures so that in the long-term picture, we can significantly minimize the amount of surgical work a patient has to go through.
What dentists look for during a dental checkup
There is a very long list of things that we are checking when we're doing an examination, but you can probably group them into about four main categories. First category would be looking for abnormalities or acquired damage in the tooth structure or in how the teeth function together.
The second thing would be abnormalities or acquired damage in the soft tissues, the gum tissues, the tongue, locations like that. The third thing that we're looking for is vulnerabilities that we can manage early with preventive cares and try to minimize any future surgical work. And then the fourth thing that we're looking for specifically is signs of gingivitis or periodontal disease that would indicate an accumulation of harmful oral bacteria, not only because of the extreme impact it has on your oral health, but also the very strongly correlated effects it has on your overall systemic health.
How long does a dental examination take?
We schedule one hour for the cleaning, for the taking of the X-rays, for the evaluation of the X-rays, for a comprehensive examination of all of your teeth and soft tissues, and then also some time to do some coaching and discussion about what we're finding to make sure that all of your questions are answered.
Do dental checkups hurt?
No. You should have the same level of comfort during a dental examination as you have going on about the rest of your day, meaning that it should be very comfortable.
How to set up an appointment for a dental examination and cleaning
If you are in the Oroville area, I and my team would love to serve you at Daniel Appel DDS. Our number is 530-533-7545. If you are not in the Oroville area and you are looking for a new dentist, I would highly recommend going to your local Google reviews. And you're looking for two things. First, you're looking for a number of reviews. You want more than just a few opinions about that dental team. But more importantly, you're looking for what's being said in those reviews. You're looking for clues about the culture of that office. Are they kind? Are they good at communicating? Do they provide a good experience for the patient while they're undergoing care? These are very important hints that will give you a lot of information about the culture of that office.