Dentists probably spend more time doing dental exams than any other treatment or procedure. And getting an exam is probably the reason that brings you most frequently to our Longmeadow, MA dentist office.
Yet most people put surprisingly little thought into what happens at their dental exams.
At Dores Dental, we think knowing what to expect will help you appreciate your dental exams more and also get more out of them.
What We Look for During Dental Exams
We assess your oral health – and your overall health – at your dental exam. So don’t be surprised if we want to know about any medical conditions and the medications you take to address them.
We do this because certain medical conditions can affect your oral health. If you have diabetes, for instance, you are at an increased risk for dry mouth and gum disease.
We’ll examine your mouth for signs of:
- Tooth decay
- Root decay
- Gum disease
- Bite problems
You may be surprised that we also look for signs of cancer. It’s a good thing we do, since the kinds of cancers that can be found during dental exams, like oral cancer and pharyngeal cancer, tend to have low survival rates after the five-year mark. So the earlier they are detected, the better!
Taking the Next Steps with Treatment
If we find any of these problems, we’ll come up with a treatment plan for you.
We can usually take care of small cavities during the same appointment by placing a tooth filling. More advanced cases of decay will likely require a dental crown or – if decay has gotten into the center of your tooth and become infected – a root canal.
Though we can produce a custom same-day dental crown for you, thanks to our high-tech CEREC system, you’d need to book a longer appointment for that. We’d also suggest a later appointment if you need scaling and root planing, a deep cleaning of your teeth and gums that we use to treat gum disease.
Technology for Your Dental Diagnosis
In the not-so-distant past, a hand mirror was about as high tech as it got for the tools we used to examine your mouth and teeth. But boy, has that ever changed! At Dores Dental, we use advanced technology for your dental exams, including:
- Intraoral camera. This gives us a really good look at the inside of your mouth. Even better, though, we can share the view with you during your dental exam. We don’t know if a picture is worth a thousand words, but it does make it easier for us to talk to you about your dental issues.
- Digital X-rays. Unlike X-rays that use film, digital X-rays enable you to quickly see high-resolution images on a computer screen. No more waiting for film to develop! We can enlarge or otherwise tweak the images if needed. This means we can spend less time diagnosing your dental issues and more time actually treating them.
Preparing for Your Dental Exam
You don’t have to study for a dental exam like you would a test. But being prepared will ensure it goes as smoothly as possible. At Dores Dental, we want you and your family to get the maximum benefit from all of our services, including dental exams!
Here are some tips for being well prepared for your dental exam:
- Pick a time that works well for you. Rushed and stressed in the morning? Then schedule your dental exam later in the day. Never in a good mood after work? An early-morning appointment might work best for you. Our weekday hours of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. should make it easy to book a time that suits you.
- Ask questions. If you have questions or concerns, the dental exam is the time to bring them up. Write them down beforehand so you don’t forget.
- Bring paperwork. Make sure you bring your insurance card, your child’s Social Security card, or any documents you might need with you. To save time, we give you the option of downloading and filling out new patient forms prior to your first visit.
- Make your next appointment. We like to see you for dental exams every six months. Go ahead and make your next appointment right after your exam so you don’t forget!
- Practice good oral hygiene between exams. The best way to ensure a dental exam goes well is to brush and floss your teeth every day.