Pearl City, HI
You may be considering ways of reducing susceptibility to oral infections such as gingivitis but are not aware of where to begin.
Scheduling a dental exam and making regular visits a lifestyle is the right place to begin. Visiting Oahu Pediatric Dentistry will offer you invaluable information on what dental examination entails, its benefits, possible complications, and much more.
What is a Dental Exam?
A dental exam is an assessment of the health of gums and teeth. These exams are conducted by dental hygienists and dentists.
The former is concerned with cleaning teeth and helping understand and practice proper oral health habits. The latter tilts towards caring for teeth and gums.
Dental exams have two primary objectives. First, to help detect gum disease, tooth decay, and other issues touching on oral health early on.
Oral infections and diseases can be hard to treat and reverse their effects if not detected early enough.
Second, serve as platforms for educating people on best practices in caring for their gum and teeth. It is recommended to have a dental exam every six months.
As a Pediatric Dentists Dr. Jason and Dr. Chris will also take special care towards the development and growth patterns of your child's teeth.
What Happens During a Dental Exam?
One of the sure things to expect during a dental exam is a thorough cleaning. During cleaning, the patient sits in a large chair placed directly below an overhead light.
The dental hygienist will conduct the cleaning using a set of tools. The process will involve flossing and scraping.
Flossing aims at removing debris between teeth. Scraping is meant for removing tartar and plaque.
Plaque is a sticky film that forms over teeth and contains harmful bacteria.
Accumulation of plaque forms tartar which is a hard coat of mineral deposit that accumulates at the bottom of teeth.
Also, it may be decided to apply a fluoride gel. This gel is used as a preventive measure against tooth decay which is a huge causal factor behind the formation of cavities.
The hygienist can also decide to use specific toothbrushes in the process.
Depending on the findings made during the first phase, an x-ray may be recommended. This kind of imaging helps in the detection of bone loss, cavities, and gum diseases among other issues that cannot be determined just by looking with the naked eye.
For the x-ray, you should expect the professionals to place thick coverings over your child’s torso and throat areas as protection against radiation.
They would then be asked to bite a plastic card. A scanner will then be placed outside their mouth. They will receive either full-mouth x-rays or a series of bitewing x-rays.
The interpretation of the x-rays will follow. Depending on the findings, you may be referred to either an orthodontist or oral cancer screening.
An orthodontist would examine issues with biting and recommend appropriate interventions.
An oral cancer screening may be recommended in case of redness, soreness, and lumps in either part of the oral cavity. This is rare among children.
What is Oral Cancer Screening?
An oral cancer screening is an exam conducted for precautionary purposes and aims at detecting mouth cancer or indicative lesions at an early stage.
Also referred to as mouth cancer screening is made up of a visual exam and a physical exam. With visual exams, the professionals look for ulcerations, bumps, color patches, swellings, and asymmetries among other abnormalities.
Beyond the inside of the mouth, other areas that face the observation include the neck, jaw, cheeks, face, lips, and the inside of the oral and nasal cavities.
Special lighting and mirrors may be used in attempts to obtain clear visibility. The physical exam largely depends on palpation. The professionals use their fingers in assessing the presence of bumps or lumps.
During the screening, patients are allowed to voice their concerns about mouth cancer. It is even better to be prepared to make lifestyle adjustments if so recommended as a way of reducing vulnerability. Again, this is rare among children but if oral cancer is present it is better to catch it early.
What is a Pediatric Dental Exam and What Should I Expect?
A pediatric dental exam is a child-oriented checkup for teeth and gum health. In terms of process, it does not vary from an adult dental exam.
On top of the cleaning, a parent or guardian should expect tips on ensuring the child’s oral health.
These include ideas on choosing the right diet and maintaining oral hygiene. Also, pediatric dentists can provide insights on teething and milestones of tooth development.
Should I Schedule a Dental Exam If My Child Doesn't Have Any Symptoms?
The early stages of gum disease and tooth decay have no pain or noticeable symptoms. By the time pain and soreness start registering, decay tends to have caused significant damage to the firmness and position of affected teeth.
Dental exams help detect problems before they progress and demand extensive treatment.
Besides aiding in the early identification of potential problems, routine dental examinations can help cushion costly and invasive procedures.
The cleaning that takes place during dental exams removes plaque and prevents its buildup. Plaque accumulation is one of the leading causal factors for periodontal disease which is the leading cause of tooth loss.
In case of tooth loss, alternatives that help maintain space so that your child’s jaw can grow correctly can take time and be costly.
Contact Us to Schedule a Dental Exam
If you are considering scheduling your child for a professionally conducted dental exam, visit Oahu Pediatric Dentistry. If you are not in a position to visit now, you can schedule an appointment via (808) 201-9956. Let us help you ensure the soundness of your child’s oral health.