If it’s been a while since your last dental checkup, you’re probably wondering what to expect. For many people, going to the dentist is a somewhat nerve-wracking experience, and knowing what to expect beforehand can help to alleviate some of those anxieties. According to Juban Cowen Dental Care in Baton Rouge, the key to “optimal dental health” is “preventative care and education.” To that end, you can expect the following at a dental checkup: X-rays, Cancer Screenings, Gum Disease Evaluation, Examination of Teeth Decay, and Examination of Existing Restorations. Here is a bit more information about each of these:
One thing that just about every dental checkup will include is some x-rays. The x-ray will help give your dentist a better picture as to what’s going on inside your mouth and help to diagnose any issues you may be having. To get an x-ray, you will be required to wear a lead vest (which protects your vital organs), and then you’ll be placed behind the camera.
You will also receive something to bite down on, which can be a little uncomfortable but doesn’t last long. The dentist (or one of the dental assistants), will then position the camera, take a few pictures, position the camera on the other side of your mouth, take a few more, and then you’re done. The whole process is painless and only takes a few moments. After that, you’ll be shown to the dentist’s chair where you’ll complete the rest of the examination.
Oral Cancer Screening
During your examination, your dentist will look for any signs of oral cancer. They will do this by visually examining your gums, lips, and the area around your mouth. One of the best things you can do for any type of cancer is to catch it early, making it important that you see your dentist regularly. This is especially true for people who smoke, or who have a family history of oral cancer, as you are more likely to get it.
Gum Disease Evaluation
Besides checking for oral cancer, your dentist will also look for signs of other diseases. The most prominent among them is gum disease or gingivitis. Gum disease can be a very dangerous condition if left untreated, making it important to not only see your dentist regularly but to take good care of your gums in between visits. This means brushing and flossing daily. If your dentist sees any signs of gum disease, they will be able to discuss treatment with you and what steps you need to take going forward.
Examination of Teeth Decay
Now that the dentist has examined your gums and the area around your mouth, next comes the teeth. Your dentist will look for any signs of tooth decay, along with any other problems you may have. They will look for cavities or see if you need any procedures like a root canal. Having your mouth examined in this way is not always pleasant, but it usually isn’t painful. You’ll just have to suffer through someone poking around in your mouth for a few minutes. If you’re lucky, there won’t be any problems, and you can go on your way without having to schedule any further tests or procedures.
Examination of Existing Restorations
If you’ve gotten any teeth restorations in the past, your dentist will also use this time to examine them. They are making sure that everything is still in place and that there aren’t any issues with your restorations. If there are, the dentist will discuss with you your options for repairing them or getting new restorations.
A Deep Cleaning
The above is what you can expect at most dental checkups. However, when scheduling a checkup, most people also use this time to get a cleaning. It’s important for your oral health to get regular cleanings from a professional, so you might as well get them both done at the same time. During the cleaning, your dentist will scrape away any plaque that may have built up over time. It’s uncomfortable, but again, usually not too painful.
Advice and Next Steps
And that’s all there is to it. Once all the above is complete, your dentist will give you some advice on how to best care for your teeth and gums going forward, and you’ll be able to schedule an appointment for your next visit. It’s recommended that you get a checkup every six months, but if you had any issues during your appointment, you might need to schedule some type of procedure sooner. Your dentist will tell you everything you need to know and the front desk will help to set it all up.
Hopefully, this guide was able to alleviate some fears, and you’ll have no trouble getting through your next dentist appointment.