The key to great oral and dental health is early detection and prevention, and the best way to achieve this is with comprehensive dental exams and teeth cleaning. Your smile is one of the first things that people notice about you, and you should keep it looking great! We recommend getting a complete exam not only annually but also before undergoing any major dental procedures.
Our comprehensive dental exams at Dolphin Dental will include:
- A periodontal check: This is an in-depth look at your gums and the bones beneath, to check for signs of periodontal or gum disease.
- Dental exam: A careful examination of each tooth to look for cavities, make sure all past work is holding up well, inspect for chips and cracks, and identify any further work that needs to be done.
- Oral cancer screening: Checking your lips, tongue, cheeks, and lymph nodes.
- Occlusal exam: This will look for any jaw problems, worn teeth, or bite issues (crossbite, overbite, underbite).
- Aesthetic Exam: Here we will examine the appearance of your teeth related to your face, such as discoloring, chips, or crooked ones
- X-rays: Identify cavities in your teeth and inspect below the gum line.
Once we finish your comprehensive dental exam, we offer you the possibility to sit down with our doctors to discuss: Existing problems, resolution options, tentative time frame, specialist referral if necessary, and financial reflections.
When getting your dental exam, it is often accompanied by your regular teeth cleaning as well. As many of the things you eat and drink can stain your teeth, we recommend getting a cleaning at least twice a year. While you should still keep up with your at home cleaning routine of brushing and flossing, a Dental Hygienist will be able to clean away the hard, built up plaque you may have been missing, and point out areas that need special attention.
Drinks that will stain your teeth
- Tea: While a healthy drink, tea, especially the dark kinds, can stain your teeth worse than coffee.
- Sauces: Soy sauce, tomato sauce, and curry, while all delicious, have significant staining potential.
- Sports drinks: These are all highly acidic, and will erode your tooth enamel, making them stain easier.
- Wine: Both red and white have the high potential to stain your teeth, as they are both highly acidic.
- Soda: The acid and chromogens in these drinks can lead to severe stains and the high chance of erosion.
Be sure to brush thoroughly after drinking these beverages, and come in for regular comprehensive dental exams and teeth cleanings; it will help to make sure your smile stays healthy.
Why Dental Exams and Cleanings are Important
Your mouth is the gateway to your body, and comprehensive dental exams and teeth cleanings can keep your body healthy. Recently there has become a clear connection between your mouth and your body, here are some examples:
- Acid reflux: Even if you don’t feel like you have heart burn, your dentist might be able to see where the acid is eroding your molars. They will then refer you to a specialist, who can recommend eating changes or prescribe treatment.
- Osteoporosis: If you are a woman over 50, your dentist may be the first to notice signs of osteoporosis, and refer you to a physician before it worsens.
- Anxiety disorders: Oral issues that are related to anxiety disorders can include teeth grinding and canker sores.
- Asthma: Asthmatic people tend to be mouth breathers, this combined with medications such as corticosteroids, which cause less saliva flow, can lead to an increase of cavities and gum disease.
Before you go to your comprehensive dental exam and teeth cleaning, let your dentist know of any preexisting conditions you may have, and medications you are taking. The better informed we are, the better we will be able to help you.
Why Dolphin Dental
Here at Dolphin Dental, we’ve made it our mission to provide our patients with the finest dentistry in the Seminole area. We are always striving to improve, and are passionate about learning about the newest technology and techniques in the dentistry field.
Components of our Dental Exams
Our doctors perform a head and neck examination during your initial examination. They will be looking for any abnormalities that may be the early signs of serious problems. They will also be screening for early signs of cancer so that in the unfortunate event you should be affected, an early diagnosis can be made and treatment will have a better prognosis.
You may have periodontal (gum) disease and not even realize it. That's because periodontal disease is usually not painful, especially in its early stages. To check for signs and symptoms of periodontal disease, we perform a thorough periodontal examination.
Periodontal disease is an infection in the gums, caused by the bacteria in plaque. When your gums are healthy, they fit tightly against your teeth. If you have periodontal disease, your gums pull away from your teeth in response to the infection.
In a healthy mouth, the space between your teeth and gums (called a sulcus) is one to two millimeters deep. When you have periodontal disease, the sulcus deepens and eventually exceeds three millimeters; it's then called a pocket. In general, the deeper the pockets, the greater the spread of periodontal disease. During your examination, we use a special instrument with millimeter markings (called a periodontal probe) to measure the sulcus or pocket depths around your teeth.
We also carefully note any bleeding as we take your periodontal measurements. Gums that bleed when probed (as well as when you brush and floss) are another sign of periodontal disease; healthy gums don't bleed. We'll also note the color and texture of your gums. Healthy gums are pink and have a stippled appearance, similar to the skin of an orange. Swollen gums lose this stippled appearance.
Finally, we'll take x-rays of your mouth to establish whether there has been bone loss around your teethanother indicator of periodontal disease. If your mouth is healthy, the bone comes up high around the necks of your teeth. With periodontal disease, bone is lost. The longer it goes untreated, the more bone is lost. Once bone is lost, it never grows back. That's why it's critical to diagnose and treat periodontal disease earlyto prevent continued bone loss and the eventual loss of teeth.
Diagnosing decay (cavities)
The three main ways we diagnose cavities are through the use of x-rays, an instrument called a dental explorer, and in some situation the use of a decay detection laser. We systematically and thoroughly check every surface of your teeth with the dental explorer; it will catch or stick in the spots created by cavities. X-rays are used to find cavities between the teeth where the explorer can't reach. Cavities show up as small dark spots on x-rays. Our decay detection laser is an instrument that shines a laser light into the grooves and surfaces of teeth. It then gives a digital reading that shows whether or not decay is present and how advanced it is. It is an excellent tool to helping our doctors diagnose decay at its earliest stages when it is easiest to fix.
It's far better to catch and restore cavities while they're still small and in the outer enamel layer of the tooth. Once they're in the softer dentin layer, they grow much more rapidly. If they make it to the pulp chamber, we will have a new, more complicated set of problems and restorations to discuss.
Dental Digital Photography
During your comprehensive examination our doctors will take a series of digital photographs of your teeth and mouth. The purpose of these photographs is so that you may visualize what our doctors are looking at rather than trying to imagine what they are looking at. They also serve as an excellent tool to help you realize how far you have progressed when your dental treatment has been completed.