It won’t be long before summer fades away into fall and the school year kicks into full gear. Take advantage of these last few weeks of the month to schedule your end of summer dental checkup in Encinitas, CA.
Dr. Claudia and her team of experts at Ablantis Dental are here to serve patients throughout Encinitas, Sante Fe, and San Diego, California. When you visit Ablantis Dental for your end of summer dental checkup, you’ll receive all of the care, attention, and TLC you need to keep your mouth healthy through the fall, winter, and beyond.
Comprehensive Visual Examination
Your standard six-month dental checkup serves many important purposes. First and foremost, it gives your dentist the chance to evaluate the condition of your teeth, gums, and mouth.
Your dentist will perform a visual examination to identify potential problems that you wouldn’t be able to notice yourself. Here’s are the steps you can expect your dentist to perform during the visual exam:
- Assess the gums and tongue
- Search for signs of gum disease
- Check for loose and broken teeth
- Assess the health of tissues inside your mouth
- Check your bite for alignment
- Look for visual evidence of decay
- Check for damaged dental work, such as fillings or crowns
Even with the best mirrors, this type of comprehensive dental exam isn’t something you can do at home. Only an experienced dentist can properly perform a visual exam to assess the condition of your mouth and recommend future treatments accordingly.
One of the most important purposes of a dental exam is to capture x-rays of your teeth and jaw bone. These detailed x-ray images reveal vital details about the condition and health of your mouth.
You may not undergo x-ray imaging at every single exam, but you can expect them at least once a year. By taking x-rays, your dentist can find, diagnose, and treat issues that may be invisible to the naked eye. Without x-rays these problems would go unrealized until they cause major complications.
If your x-rays indicate bone decay, swelling, tumours, shifting teeth, impacted teeth, or any other serious issue, your dentist can respond immediately. This is especially important to catch destructive, fast-paced diseases that don’t cause noticeable symptoms.
Dental Cleaning: Removal of Plaque and Tartar
You know you’re supposed to brush (and floss!) to remove plaque from your teeth. However, even the most diligent at-home brushing and flossing routine can’t beat a good old fashioned dental cleaning.
When plaque has the chance to sit on your teeth for too long, it accumulates into tartar and causes inflammation, bleeding, cavities, and gum disease. Your dentist uses specialized tools to remove plaque and tartar from the areas of your mouth you can’t reach. Receiving this professional dental cleaning twice a year ensures that your mouth is protected from disease.
Without a professional dental cleaning every six months, plaque and tartar have the opportunity to grow and spread until they cause gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. This is so easy to prevent simply by giving your dentist a few minutes to clean your mouth!
You can expect your dental professional to perform a comprehensive cleaning using the following methods:
- Scrape away plaque and tartar on and between the teeth
- Polish the teeth
- Floss between all teeth
- Apply fluoride, if necessary
When it comes to disease prevention, this is the key factor: early prevention. At every six month appointment, your dentist uses the information he collects from your x-rays, visual examination, and dental cleaning to identify any early signs of dental problems or disease.
These are a few of the most common issues that can often be treated successfully thanks to early detection:
- Gum disease
- Oral cancer
- Impacted wisdom teeth
- Tooth loss
- Nerve damage
The earlier your dentist can identify potential issues and recommend the appropriate course of treatment, the more efficiently he can prevent future damage and protect your smile.
Just keep in mind that it’s nearly impossible to achieve early detection without regular six-month appointments. If you skip an appointment, you’re only hurting yourself, unfortunately.
Oral Cancer Screening
The oral cancer screening is one of the most critical yet overlooked elements of a dental appointment. More than 10,000 people die every year in the U.S from oral cancer. It’s an aggressive disease that’s difficult to treat in late stages. This makes early detection vital.
Oral cancer can develop anywhere along your lips, cheek lining, gums, tongue, floor of mouth, roof of mouth, or throat. It is caused by dangerous changes to cells in the mouth tissue. Certain risk factors increase your risk of oral cancer, including the heavy use of tobacco and alcohol, excessive sun exposure to the lips, and the disease HPV.
An oral cancer screening only takes a few minutes to check your mouth for signs of oral cancer. It’s not painful, invasive, or difficult. Every screening includes a systematic visual examination of all soft tissue in the mouth, as well as a physical examination of the neck and lymph nodes. Your dentist will also ask important questions during every oral cancer screening to gain a comprehensive understanding of your unique oral cancer risk factors.
Be sure to stay alert for the following symptoms of oral cancer and let your dentist know immediately if you’re experiencing any of these problems:
- A mouth sore or lump that doesn’t heal after a few weeks
- Red or white patches
- Pain and tenderness in the mouth or along the lips
- Unusual difficulty chewing, swallowing or speaking
- A change in your bite
- Sensation of something being caught in the throat
Since early detection catches oral cancer before it has the opportunity to fully develop and spread through and beyond your mouth, this simple examination makes it more likely that your dentist and doctor can treat your cancer into remission.
Get Tips to Improve Your Home Care Habits
You may not know whether you’re brushing properly, flossing enough, and eating mouth-friendly foods until you receive feedback from your dentist.
That’s why one of the most powerful benefits of your end of summer dental appointment is the ability to improve your daily oral habits with the advice you receive from your dentist. Your dentist may recommend any of the following changes to your normal routine:
- Brush with soft bristles to prevent receding gums
- Floss more often to remove plaque from between the teeth
- Add more dairy into your diet to enrich enamel with minerals like calcium and phosphorus
- Avoid soda, juice, and other high-sugar beverages
If you have more questions, just call Ablantis Dental at (760) 334-0128. Compared to costly medical procedures and painful surgeries, a 30-minute end of summer dental checkup is a very small price to pay for health and longevity!