Cleaning & Prevention
Cleaning & Prevention
Regular dental exams are an important part of preventive health care. Discovering and stopping problems before they start is a more effective, and often cheaper, form of care than treating problems after they've grown.
During a dental exam, the dentist or hygienist will clean your teeth and identify gum inflammation or bone loss. The dentist or hygienist will evaluate your risk of developing tooth decay and other oral health problems, as well as check your face, neck, and mouth for abnormalities. A dental exam might also include dental x-rays or other diagnostic procedures.
They will likely also discuss your diet and oral hygiene habits and might demonstrate proper brushing and flossing techniques. Other topics for discussion during a dental exam might include:
- Any medications you're taking
- Use of tobacco products
- Consequences of tooth loss
- Benefits of crowns, fixed bridges, or dental implants
- Use of dentures
- Cosmetic procedures
A dental exam also gives you the opportunity to ask questions about your oral health.
Teeth cleaning involves the removal of dental plaque, tartar, and stains from teeth. This is done with the intention of helping to prevent cavities, gum disease (gingivitis), and periodontal disease. While most people should clean their teeth regularly with brushing and flossing, the dental hygienists can remove tartar with professional cleaning devices. Teeth polishing is also done at a cleaning visit to help remove stains and plaque.
Our office utilizes digital film to take dental x-rays. Digital x-rays reduce radiation by 80% compared to the already low exposure of traditional dental x-rays. These digital x-rays are important for providing diagnostic and preventative information not visible during a routine dental exam.
About Digital X-Rays
Dental x-rays may reveal:
- Cavities or decay between teeth
- Cysts or abscesses
- Bone loss
- Problems within the tooth or below the gum line
- Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors
- Tooth positioning
- Developmental abnormalities
The need to take dental x-rays depends on each patient's health needs. The dentist and dental hygienist will recommend dental x-rays based upon the review of your dental and medical history, symptoms or signs, age, risk of disease, and a dental exam. Even though digital film x-rays produce a low level of radiation, precautions include only taking x-rays that are necessary and using a lead apron shield to protect the body.
Oral Cancer Screening
Head and neck cancer, including oral cancer, is the sixth most common type of cancer. The definition of cancer is known as the uncontrollable growth of cells that invade and cause damage to surrounding tissue. It can be life threatening if not diagnosed and treated early.
About Oral Cancer Screening
Some common symptoms of oral cancer include:
- Bumps or lumps; rough spots on the lips, gums, under the tongue or on its sides, or in other areas of the mouth
- Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
- Unexplained numbness in the mouth
- Persistent sores that bleed and do not heal within two weeks
- Difficulty chewing, speaking, and swallowing
- Dramatic weigh loss
- Ear pain
- Chronic sore throat, or change of voice
These are just some of symptoms that should cause you to contact your dentist or health care professional immediately.
The VELscope is used at Rand Dental. It is a non-invasive device that provides dentists and dental hygienist with the ability to detect a variety of oral diseases and tissue abnormalities, including pre-cancer and cancer. This method, combined with traditional intra and extra oral examinations of the head and neck, facilitates the discovery of tissue changes before they become visible under regular light.