Proper oral care includes more than just brushing and flossing teeth, as well as rinsing with mouthwash. For a more complete and thorough protection, it’s important that you visit the dentist regularly every six months for dental checkups and professional cleaning.
Dental checkups, for one, are important as they are the most effective preventative measure against oral complications, such as gum disease, cavities and even oral cancer.
These checkups, though, come in two forms – one that’s a bit more quick and simple, and another that’s a bit more thorough, or otherwise known as a comprehensive exam.
A comprehensive exam includes much more than just simply checking teeth for complications.
Typically, a comprehensive dental exam includes:
- The thorough checking of the mouth, teeth and gums for any signs or indications of oral diseases.
- Additional measures of checking are implemented, including X-rays and other diagnostic tests.
- The safe and effective administration of anesthetics is ensured.
- Monitoring the growth and development of the teeth and jaws.
- Creating an effective treatment plan based on the initial results.
It is important to take note that the dentist’s area of care is not limited to their patient’s teeth and gums. It also includes their head muscles, as well as the muscles in their neck and jaw, and the tongue, salivary glands and even the nervous system of the head and neck.
During the comprehensive exam, dentists don’t just examine the teeth and gums. They also make it a point to check out other possible symptoms and abnormalities, including but not limited to, lumps, swellings, discolorations and ulcerations.
Why Are Comprehensive Exams Important?
While dentists usually vary in how they conduct comprehensive exams, it usually typically includes them taking their patient’s medical history, their usual diet and the completing of a risk factor form that tells them what certain diseases their patient is at risk for.
The importance of these comprehensive exams then could easily be summed by saying that it’s the perfect example of the common phrase “prevention is better than cure”.
When we’re talking about gum diseases, or any other disease in particular, subtle signs and symptoms often show way before they’re evident. In fact, pain is usually a sign that the disease has been allowed to develop much further than necessary, often due to the negligence and lack of education regarding how pain isn’t always present in the early stages of gum disease.
With comprehensive exams, gum disease in its earliest stages can be diagnosed and therefore, prevented, which also includes pain, discomfort and other complications of gum disease in its later stages.
A common concern with comprehensive exams is that they take much longer, which may be a problem for those with dental anxiety or phobia. However, dentists are more than happy to help patients with such problems and will likely do anything they can to put such patients at ease.
Another concern is the costs, as comprehensive exams are generally much more expensive. However, it is important to take note that the prevention of gum disease and other oral complications is much cheaper than treating them.
Should you want your teeth to receive nothing but the utmost care and protection, it’s important that you demand to your dentist that a comprehensive exam be done regularly.
If you feel that you may be in need of a comprehensive exam, contact Dr. David Lunt DDS at 818-885-7230 to schedule an appointment or visit www.davidluntdds.com to learn more.