Why Do I Need a Comprehensive Exam?

Posted on January 22, 2019 by:

Even if you take exceptional care of your teeth at home, it’s still really important to have regular exams when you visit your dentist. Although it can seem like clean teeth are good enough, there are still some important things that your dentist should check for that can have a big impact on your overall health. Here are some things you can expect Dr. Schultz to perform during your next visit.

Head and Neck Examination

Although you might think that dentists only focus on the teeth, there is more than just your mouth that Dr. Schultz is concerned with. She will examine various areas of the head and neck to check for any abnormalities that can be indicative of problems like sleep apnea or oral cancer. She will also check the function and condition of your jaw, to ensure it’s working properly and isn’t showing signs of wear from things like bruxism (grinding your teeth).

Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer may not be as common, but it’s just as important. Because of regular checkups, Dr. Schultz will be acquainted with your head, neck, and mouth from appointment to appointment—in order to spot any signs of cancerous activity. These findings can be included in a head and neck examination, where Dr. Schultz will check for any lumps or irregularities. Be sure to let her know if you’ve noticed any changes or discomfort in the mouth, head, or neck, so that she can assess any potential risks.

Gum Disease Evaluation

Gum disease can be problematic to your overall health, so it’s important to check for signs of gum inflammation during your comprehensive exam. This can include performing a periodontal evaluation, which measures the space between the gum and the tooth. A wider and deeper gap here can be indicative of long-term plaque and calculus build-up and bone loss around the teeth, which can be the result of things like poor home care, a long time between dental appointments, or extensive wear. This can sometimes lead to mobility of the teeth if left untreated, which is a serious concern.

 Cavity Screening

Cavities can be very detrimental to your health if left unchecked, and can sometimes lead to an extensive root canal procedure if the cavity is left for long enough. If it’s not addressed in the long term, bacteria from the oral cavity can also spread to the surrounding tissues of the mouth and head, causing dangerous infections. Dr. Schultz can look for early signs of tooth decay, and recommend ways to either prevent or reverse the damage, or treat the cavity if needed.

X-Ray Screening

X-rays are valuable for seeing problems that may not be immediately visible in the mouth. They show us the state of your external and internal tooth structure, as well as the surrounding bone. X-rays can thus be very helpful in fully accomplishing all of the above evaluations, leading to more effective treatment and prevention. Dental x-rays are always low-radiation, so don’t worry about over-exposure during your visit.  Dr. Schultz will only take the x-rays necessary for diagnosis and treatment.

Although dental exams may not seem as important as going to the medical doctor, it’s important to understand that your teeth not only serve an important function, but are also a part of the larger oral cavity: the entry point to the rest of your body.  The mouth deserves regular exams, to ensure not only optimal oral health, but overall health as well.

Dr. Schultz can perform a comprehensive exam at regular intervals to ensure you’re healthy and performing effective at-home care to take care of those pearly whites, so be sure to schedule your appointment by calling or filling out our online form.  We look forward to seeing you!