At Kevin Kay DDS Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, regular dental exams are an essential part of preventive health care.
During a dental exam, Dr. Kevin Kay will check your mouth for tooth and gum diseases and determine if you have a risk of developing other health problems like oral cancers. It may also involve taking digital radiographs of your mouth and discussing diet and oral hygiene habits.
Types of Dental Exams
There are three main types of oral or dental examinations:
||Comprehensive Oral Exam: This type of exam is usually performed during a person’s first visit to Kevin Kay DDS Family & Cosmetic Dentistry. The evaluation will be used to determine the condition of the patient’s oral and overall health and will serve as a benchmark for future dental visits.
||Limited Oral Exam: This type of exam is usually performed during urgent or emergency visits and is used to examine a specific oral issue, like a dental injury incurred while playing sports.
||Periodic Oral Exam: A periodic oral exam is performed in subsequent dental visits after your initial checkup. It is performed on patients who have dental record documentations at Kevin Kay DDS Family & Cosmetic Dentistry. Periodic oral exams usually take place every six months, though patients with oral health issues may need to visit more frequently.
What a Dental Exam Involves
During a dental exam, we will check the overall health and hygiene of your mouth, including assessing the risk of tooth decay or gum disease. If your teeth show signs of decay and damage, we may recommend dental restorations and replacements. If they are stained, we may recommend cleaning, whitening, or other cosmetic restorations.
We will also evaluate your jaw and bite for problems and demonstrate the proper brushing and flossing techniques for your natural teeth or dentures.
Initial symptoms of some diseases, like diabetes, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis, may be manifested in your mouth first. If we find indications of any disease, we may recommend that you see a doctor.
We will also review your medical history and ask about what medications you take and how they can affect your oral health. For example, you may be at increased risk of tooth decay if you take medications that cause dry mouth. Some conditions may also impede your ability to brush and floss your teeth, and we can help you manage that.
A dental exam also makes sure that your prosthetic devices, like crowns, dental implants, and dentures, fit you perfectly.
Finally, we may also counsel you on your diet, use of alcohol and tobacco, and other lifestyle factors that can cause damage to your oral health.
Oral Cancer Exam
During a comprehensive oral cancer exam, we will also check your mouth, jaw, head, and neck region for early signs of oral cancer. These may appear as unusual lumps, suspicious nodes, rough patches, persistent blisters, or prolonged bleeding from a region of the mouth.
We may also recommend dental x-rays, although they are not needed for every single dental checkup. Some of the most common types of dental x-rays are bitewing x-rays that are used to check for tooth problems like cavities, and panoramic x-rays that give a 360 view of your mouth and jaw region to check for oral cancers and jaw issues.
Radiation exposure from these dental x-rays is very low; still, we do not recommend frequent x-rays on pregnant women or young children unless it is necessary.
A dental exam is vital for the continued health of your mouth and your body. To schedule a dental exam, call us at (425) 738-8476 today.