When you go to the dentist for your six-month checkups, you are expecting your hygienist to thoroughly clean your smile and your dentist to pop in at the end to take a quick look, but there is a lot more to it than just that. In fact, your dentist is looking for numerous different signs and abnormalities that could indicate something more serious going on. Here are a few things your dentist is doing while you’re in the dental chair.
Oral Cancer Screening
Every single time you come to the dental office for a regular checkup, your dentist thoroughly checks for any signs of oral cancer. They will take a look at your lips, head, neck, and mouth tissues like the tongue’s surface for any visible signs of oral cancer. They will also look for any abnormalities within the mouth or symptoms that could lead to oral cancer developing in the future. When cause early on, this type of cancer can be easily treated, but when it is neglected, it can quickly turn deadly.
Examination of Your Tongue
The size and surface of your tongue can tell a lot about the health of your whole body. To ensure that everything is okay, your dentist will check the texture of the tongue as well as the size.
Inspection of Salivary Glands
Your dentist checks your salivary glands to ensure that they are producing enough saliva. This is because it coats your mouth and helps to wash away bacteria. If you don’t have enough saliva, your teeth and mouth are more prone to cavities, bacteria, infection, and halitosis.
Looking at Your Tonsils
Dentists are always careful to take a close look at your tonsils for any signs of infection or swelling. Just like the tongue, tonsils can tell a lot about health concerns that are present in the body.
Checking Your Temporomandibular Joint
This is the joint that connects the jawbone and the jaw together. It is what allows your mouth to open and close so you can chew and smile. Your dentist will make sure that this joint and your bite is working together the right way.
Teaching Oral Hygiene Practices
There is an educational portion of your appointment as well. Your dentist will spend time to teach you about proper oral hygiene habits, brushing technique, flossing, and the importance of each step. This way, you can use them at home to keep your smile healthy in the future.
There is more to your dental visit that just a regular cleaning. Keep all these things in mind. This way, you will understand the importance of routine dental checkups.
About the Author
Dr. Megan Shelton earned her dental doctorate from the University of Louisville School of Dentistry and has attended advanced educational training with the KOIS Center, a world-renowned post-graduate level dental teaching center. Currently, she is a proud member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, Academy of General Dentistry, Academy of Laser Dentistry, and Seattle Study Club. She would be happy to help you get back on track with your routine dental checkups. For more information or to schedule an appointment at her office in Carlsbad, visit her website or call (760) 388-6773.