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What Can I Expect at Routine Oral Exams?

What Can I Expect at Routine Oral Exams?

Seeing your dentist twice a year is a good rule to follow if you want to avoid problems like gum disease or cavities and enjoy a lifetime of beautiful smiles. Still, it’s not uncommon to skip visits.

Routine oral exams and cleanings are an essential part of care for patients at Park Place Smiles in Glendora, California, where Minal Patel, DDS, and our team make customizing your care our top priority. 

Let’s look at what you can expect at your next checkup.

Personal record update

First, regular exams give your dentist a chance to update your current record, including:

Updating your record ensures we provide care focused on maintaining optimal oral health and reducing the risk of future problems. Be sure to let us know about any new medical issues or medications since your last visit, and include nonprescription medicines and vitamins or supplements you take regularly.

Thorough cleaning

Plaque and tartar contain bacteria, which are the primary cause of cavities and gum disease. While brushing and flossing play important roles in the removal of both these substances, inevitably, some plaque or tartar will be left behind.

Our team uses advanced cleaning methods to gently remove plaque and tartar buildup, along with the bacteria they contain. Once we clean thoroughly around and between every tooth, we use special polishing techniques to remove superficial stains from the surface of your teeth, so your smile looks and feels amazingly clean.

Dental X-rays

About once a year, we’ll take dental X-rays. These diagnostic images are essential for allowing us to view the area of your teeth located below your gums (the root portion), along with your jawbone.

X-rays are incredibly quick and completely painless, and they provide a wealth of information about your oral health. With regular X-rays, we can create an ongoing record of your oral health that enables us to spot issues quickly and map out treatment to prevent serious issues, like gum disease.

Visual exam of your teeth and gums

Once your teeth are cleaned, Dr. Patel carefully evaluates your teeth and gums visually, making note of any areas of concern. Using special picks, she can look for tiny cavities that might not be causing noticeable symptoms yet, so we can provide treatment and prevent those cavities from getting bigger.

Depending on your risk factors for gum disease, Dr. Patel might use a special tool to measure your gum pockets, which are spaces between your gums and teeth that allow bacteria to reach the lower portions of your teeth. Gum pocket measurements help us determine your risk of gum disease, so we can decide if preventive care is warranted.

Oral cancer screening

Each year in the United States, thousands of people are diagnosed with oral cancers (sometimes called oropharyngeal cancers to include the throat area). These cancers can occur anywhere in your mouth or throat, including along your gums, your lips, and your tongue.

Identifying oral cancer on your own can be difficult since these lesions can be in areas you can’t see when you look in a mirror. Dr. Patel performs an oral cancer exam at every visit. The exam is completely painless but plays an important part in identifying cancer early.

Treatment guidance and planning

Once your cleaning and visual exam are complete, Dr. Patel gives you an overview of your oral health, focusing on issues that might require further treatment or areas where your brushing and flossing routines needed improvement. Depending on your lifestyle and risk factors, you might also receive information about smoking habits or chronic diseases, like diabetes, that can pose special challenges to your oral health.

If you want to learn more about a specific treatment, such as professional teeth whitening or veneers, this is a great time to ask questions. We can also provide guidance about home care, including the best type of toothpaste or toothbrush to use for your specific needs.

Just one hour for a lifetime of healthy smiles

Most dental exams and cleanings take about an hour, yet many people skip their routine visits or don’t ever bother visiting until they have a problem. The problem is, skipping visits can allow minor problems to become a lot worse, and eventually, you might need more complex — and costly — care.

Having those twice-a-year routine visits is one of the best ways to maintain your healthy smile and avoid serious oral health issues. To book your exam and cleaning, call 626-226-1802 or book an appointment online with us at Park Place Smiles today.

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