Regular dental exams are an important part of preventive health care.
During a dental exam, we will clean your teeth and check for cavities and gum disease. We will also evaluate your risk of developing other oral health problems. A dental exam might also include dental X-rays (radiographs) or other diagnostic procedures.
During a dental exam, Dr. Roseroot or a hygienist will likely discuss your diet and oral hygiene habits and will discuss proper brushing and flossing techniques. Dr. Roseroot may also discuss lifestyle factors that can affect oral health and possible cosmetic improvements to your teeth.
The Importance of a Dental Exam
Regular dental exams help protect your oral health and general well-being. A dental exam gives us a chance to provide tips on caring for your teeth and to detect any problems early — when they’re most treatable.
When to have a dental exam
In keeping with the American Dental Association recommendations, adults should schedule regular dental exams at intervals determined by our professionals.
Even if you no longer have your natural teeth, it’s important to still have regular dental exams be sure your oral health and the usefulness of your replacement teeth are maintained.
First Time Visitors
If you are scheduling your first dental exam you should come at least 30 minutes earlier into the Roseroot Dental office (at Suite 216 in the Golf-River Professional Building at 1455 East Gold Road, Des Plaines IL 60016). By coming earlier our office staff can assist you with payment options and help you with any insurance forms.
Also, should you be anxious about having a dental exam, you need to share your concerns with Dr. Roseroot or your hygienist. This will allow them to adjust your treatment to help you feel more comfortable.
The Exam Covers…
During a dental exam, Dr. Roseroot or the hygienist will:
- Evaluate your overall health and oral hygiene
- Evaluate your risk of tooth decay, root decay, and gum or bone disease
- Evaluate your need for tooth restoration or tooth replacement
- Check your bite and jaw for problems
- Remove any stains or deposits on your teeth
- Demonstrate proper cleaning techniques for your teeth or dentures
- Assess your need for fluoride
- Take dental X-rays or, if necessary, do other diagnostic procedures
You will also be asked about any health problems you have or medications you’re taking and discuss how they might affect your oral health. If you have diabetes, for example, you’re at increased risk of gum disease. Any medication that contributes to dry mouth can increase your risk of tooth decay. If arthritis interferes with your ability to effectively brush your teeth, Dr. Roseroot or your hygienist might show you how to insert the handle of your toothbrush into a rubber ball for easier use — or even recommend a powered or electric toothbrush.
If you have prosthetic replacements — such as dentures or bridges — Dr. Roseroot or your hygienist will examine how well they fit and discuss the need for adjustments.
Your dental exam might also include a discussion about diet, use of tobacco products and other lifestyle factors that can affect oral health.
The Dental X-ray
A dental X-ray allows us to see detailed images of your mouth. Various types of dental X-rays are available, including:
- Bitewing. This type of X-ray allows the dentist to see the crowns of the upper and lower teeth. During a bitewing X-ray, you’ll bite down on the X-ray film holder while the X-ray images are being taken.
- Periapical. This type of X-ray allows the dentist to see the entire tooth and the surrounding bone.
- Occlusal. This type of X-ray allows the dentist to see the way the upper teeth and corresponding lower teeth fit together when the jaw is closed.
- Panoramic. This type of X-ray gives the dentist a broad view of the entire mouth.
- Cone beam computerized tomography. This type of X-ray provides a 3-D view so that the dentist can better gauge the spacing of teeth and adjacent structures.
X-rays aren’t typically needed at every dental visit. Radiation exposure from dental X-rays is low — but talk to your dentist if you’re concerned about radiation exposure.
Oral cancer exam
During your dental exam, Dr. Roseroot or your hygienist will look for signs of oral cancer. The area under your jaw, the sides of your neck, the insides of your lips and cheeks, and the sides of your tongue and the roof and floor of your mouth will be examined.
In some cases, making a dental impression of one or both jaws to produce a replica of your teeth and oral tissue may be required. This can help our professionals evaluate your bite or make a mouthguard or bleaching trays.
To make a proper impression of your mouth, we will fill horseshoe-shaped trays with a soft, gelatin-like material and place them over your upper or lower teeth. After a few minutes, these trays will be removed and used to create a dental cast of your mouth. Dr. Roseroot might also have you bite down on a soft material to record and evaluate your bite.
After the Exam…
After your dental exam, Dr. Roseroot will once again review with you your oral health, including your risk of tooth decay, gum disease and any other oral health problems, and preventive measures you can take to improve and protect your oral health.
We will also recommend the best time to return for a follow-up visit. If you’re at high risk of tooth decay or gum disease or have other oral health problems, we may recommend more frequent checkups.