When it comes to visiting the dentist, you may not always know what kind of exam you need. Whether it’s preventative, an emergency, or an issue requiring the services of a specialist, a visit to your dentist can help you get- and stay- healthy.
Maintaining our oral health is an essential part of our all-over health. The mouth is the window to the body, and as early signs of disease or other irregularities developing in the body commonly first appear in the mouth, it’s that much more important to see your dentist twice a year for cleanings, and once a year for a full check-up.
The Ontario Dental Association strongly recommends an annual check-up as this exam screens for all issues of oral health as well as for issues affecting your overall health. In this exam, the dentist checks all areas of the mouth, neck, and jaw, including the jaw joints (TMJ), lymph nodes, intraoral tissue, gums, the pockets around the teeth, and teeth mobility recession. The dentist also investigates instances of decay, checks bone levels, looks for conditions that may affect the jaw, throat or tongue, and screens for any abnormalities, signs of cancer or other systemic disease that may present in areas not otherwise visible to the patient.
In addition to our getting an annual check-up, the ODA also strongly recommends we get a complete series of X-rays every three to five years depending on our age and our overall oral and medical condition. X-rays show the dentist areas of the mouth that are imperceptible to the naked eye and point to any cavities or problem areas in the tooth, gum or root of the teeth.
Emergency Exam and Specific Exam
Should you require an emergency visit to the dentist due to pain or discomfort in the mouth, jaw, or neck, your dentist will talk to you about your specific concerns and ask questions related to your overall health, oral habits, and expectations for the treatment, and will present a treatment plan that meets those expectations and best addresses the problem.
Referrals to Specialists
If a dentist believes you require the services of a specialist, she will refer you so you receive the care you require for your specific area of concern.
Making sure we take the time for dentist visits in all ways ensures best overall health.