Dental exams are an important part of visiting a general dentist. The examination portion of the appointment is crucial in catching any warning signs that may indicate problems, such as cavities or gum disease.
In particular, gum disease can be difficult to notice as it may present itself without any major warning signs. With that being said, it is important to never skip dental exams as they allow the general dentist the opportunity to identify these signs and implement a plan to address them.
Checking for gum disease
Below is an overview of gum disease, including how it checked for during a dental exam, as well as what the signs may be. This information can be helpful to review as it gives individuals a chance to prepare for what might be upcoming.
What is involved in a dental exam?
A dental exam in general dentistry involves the patient lying extremely still while each tooth is looked at. From there, both sides of the gums are also carefully inspected. The general dentist may use small tools to perform the exam; however, there is not any pain involved. On average, a dental exam may take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.
In addition to the examination of the teeth and gums, the dentist will also take x-rays. X-rays are images taken, which highlight deeper areas of the oral cavity. For example, it shows the bone and roots beneath, which can be helpful when trying to identify an infection or problem area. Not all infections are visible to the naked eye, which is why x-rays do play an important role.
How a general dentist checks for gum disease
Gum disease, in particular, is not examined for the same way that the teeth are looked at. The dentist will use a small dental tool to measure the gum pockets. While the tool does have a sharper end, it is important to know that there will not be any pain. The tool will measure how deep the gum pockets are and determine if they are too deep. From there, the dental examination will also include looking for any warning signs.
Signs to look out for
When thinking that gum disease is a problem, the general dentist will look for a few specific things during the dental exam. Outlined below are a few of the signs.
- Inflammation of the gums
- White or red patches on the gums
- Gaps in between the gum line and the tooth
- Areas of bleeding
- Sensitivity or tenderness
Get scheduled for a dental exam
It is highly recommended to visit a general dentist at least twice a year. This gives them the opportunity to perform a dental exam and cleaning, both of which are necessary in order to maintain good oral health. Additionally, if any warning signs are indicated, a plan of action can be put into place. To find out more about dental exams or gum disease, reach out today.
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