The initial exam you receive after joining our practice, or for patients of record that have not been seen in over two years. A comprehensive exam is a thorough exam determining the health of your teeth, gums, and jaw joint. This exam also provides us information to record any previous dental work.
Regular dental exams are a crucial part of preventative dentistry because they allow us to address dental problems in their early stages and to identify serious issues. Most people need an exam every six months. We may recommend more frequent visits, depending on your circumstances.
Why do I need dental exams?
Dental problems tend to get worse when left untreated. When you see us for regular visits, small problems won’t have a chance to become major concerns. For instance, the longer tooth decay goes unchecked, the more damage it can do to a tooth and less of the original tooth that can be saved. Good hygiene and dental visits are cost-effective, too. It costs much more to have teeth repaired and replaced than it does to have regular exams and cleanings. Routine exams also give you the best chance for early detection and treatment of serious oral problems.
What happens during a routine dental exam?
Usually, an exam and cleaning are scheduled during the same appointment. The dental hygienist will first give your teeth a thorough cleaning. Then Dr. Westmoreland will review the x-rays, and if necessary, take new ones. They will make a visual inspection of the inside of your mouth and may use instruments like a long-handled mirror and a dental explorer. If all is healthy, your gums will be firm and pink, and your teeth won’t have any soft, rough, or discolored surfaces. We will recommend treatment for any signs of decay or other problems, and make notes on any conditions that deserve observation on the next visit.
How often do I need exams?
Many adults require exams every six months. If your mouth is prone to tooth decay, tartar buildup, or gum disease, we will recommend more frequent appointments.