Why You Should Be Getting Annual Dental Exams

The absence of tooth pain means no dental problems, right? Not always. If you’re only visiting the dentist when you have a problem, you’re doing yourself a big disservice. A dental exam is an important part of preventive oral health care. Yearly dental exams by a board-certified dentist in Cary, NC are needed to help find and treat tiny problems before they become painful and boost your oral health so you can avoid bigger troubles. At DentalWorks – Cary Crossroads, our skilled team offers annual dental exams for babies, children, teens, adults, and seniors for better oral health. No matter your age or if it’s been awhile since you visited the dentist, schedule a dental exam for yourself and everyone in your family at our dental practice in Cary, NC.

It’s never too early to start visiting the dentist. Before your child first birthday, they ought to also celebrate their first visit to the dentist. At your baby’s first dental examination, the dentist will check the health of their gums and look at their baby teeth as they start to come in. During a baby’s first dental exam, your dentist can provide advice on improving your child’s dental health, including tips on how to brush their teeth, and answer questions on things, like thumb sucking and bottle rot. Though your baby’s first dental exam shouldn’t take long, it can be quite crucial for their future health.

If you have children, it’s important to make certain they’re going to the dentist every year for a dental exam. This helps establish healthy habits that will give them a lifetime of better oral health. During a child’s annual exam, the dentist will generally check for cavities and other problems. The dentist will also check your child’s brushing habits and may offer some ideas to help improve their oral health at home. Your dentist can also help you figure out if and when your child should visit an orthodontist for treatment.

Some adults skip their annual dental examination because of anxiety or even a fear of the dentist (dentophobia). At DentalWorks – Cary Crossroads, we do our best to listen to and alleviate your fears so you can have a positive appointment. Our team will take the time to explain what will happen before we begin your oral health examination and give you as many breaks as you need to feel comfortable. We also offer many types of sedation that might be used throughout your routine appointments to help you relax. For most patients, nitrous oxide gas (also known as laughing gas) or an oral-conscious sedation medication (generally a prescription anti-anxiety medicine, like Halcion or Valium) can be used to keep you awake, but calm and relaxed during your visit. In the event that you or your child need sedation dentistry, you will have a consultation with your dentist before your actual dental exam to determine if sedation can be safely used, which is most suitable for your needs, what you need to expect during your appointment, and if you will be able to drive afterward.

For most patients, there are five main steps to a standard dental examination — electronic x-rays, cavity checks, checking for gum disease, an oral cancer check, plus a consultation. Depending on your oral health, your dental exam might be very short or it might take a little longer.

  • X-RAYS
    At the start of your yearly dental exam, a basic series of electronic x-rays will be taken so your dentist can see hidden problems, such as decay, abscesses, and impacted teeth. Every few years, your dentist may recommend a full mouth series, which will capture your teeth, gums, and jawbone. These will help your dentist look for damage to your jaw, cysts, as well as other problems.
    During your exam, your team will check for decay in your enamel. This might include using a digital cavity detector or employing a manual tool to look for weak areas of enamel. If an area is weak, but a cavity hasn’t yet started, you may be able to avoid a full-blown cavity with a professional fluoride treatment and good home oral care.
    An important part of every dental exam is checking for signs of oral cancer. This starts with a visual inspection of your lips, tongue, and soft tissue as your dentist looks for abnormalities like discoloration. After this, they will palpate your throat and jaw to check for lumps. If your dentist finds any early indicators of oral cancer, they can refer you to an oncologist for a diagnosis and treatment.
    After your dental exam is done, your dentist will talk to you about any problems they found. If they do find any problems, your dentist will discuss your treatment options and develop your customized plan. This is a great time to ask your dental team any questions you may have or have them check your brushing and flossing technique.
    For gums that are dark or inflamed, your dentist will check the depth of your gum pockets. If they are greater than three millimeters, they may recommend a periodontal treatment to remove buildup and restore your gums.

Make sure you and your family have healthy, beautiful smiles by scheduling annual dental examinations with a board-certified dentist in Cary, NC. Regular dental exams check for common oral health issues (for example, cavities and gum disease) so it is possible to treat them before they turn into big, painful problems. At DentalWorks – Cary Crossroads, we offer dental exams for patients of all ages. Our team is skilled so you have a good experience at the dentist’s office, which makes is a lot easier to come back every year. If you have fear or anxiety about visiting the dentist, ask about scheduling a consultation to learn about sedation dentistry to keep you calm and relaxed during your dental examination. DentalWorks – Cary Crossroads hopes to see you and your whole family to perform your annual dental exams!