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What Your Dentist Looks for During Your Oral Exam

February 17, 2016
Posted By: Dr. Shane Ruggless
Dentist Springfield IL | Dental Exams

It is recommended to see your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings and exams, but while getting regular cleanings makes sense, what is so important about exams? During exams, your dentist will check for early signs of several dental and general health concerns. Dr. Shane Ruggless will check each of your teeth and gums during every exam to ensure that your oral health is on track.

What Your Dentist Looks for During Dental Exams

  • Tooth decay – Your dentist will start by checking every tooth for tooth decay using a mirror to see every angle of the tooth. Then, a tool is used to poke the chewing surface of your tooth for cavities, which will cause the tooth to become soft. An x-ray may be needed to check for cavities between teeth that can be difficult to see. 
  • Gum Disease – When checking for gum disease, your dentist will look for signs of redness, swelling, and inflammation. If there are signs of irritation or bleeding, your dentist will use a special tool to measure the pockets between your teeth and gums.  If pockets are more than three millimeters deep than you may need to have periodontal treatment.
  • Bone loss – You may not need an x-ray during every exam unless you have signs of gum disease or tooth decay, but they are helpful in seeing damage below the gums. They can also be used to track bone loss for patients with periodontal disease or missing teeth.
  • Oral cancer – Your dentist will examine your face, neck, and mouth for signs of oral cancer. They can check for lumps and abnormalities by feeling your neck and around the outsides of your cheeks and under your jaw. They will also look inside your cheeks and under the tongue for red or white patches.

Importance of Exams

Even with daily oral care and regular cleanings it is possible to develop tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. By getting exams twice a year, your dentist will help in catching early signs of these problems so they can be treated quickly. If you live in the Springfield, IL area and would like to know more about dental exams or to schedule an exam, please contact Ruggless Dental today!

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