At Expressions Dental Care in Richmond Hill, dental exams and digital x-rays are important preventive diagnostic screening tools used to uncover potential dental diseases that may harm your oral and overall health.
Importance of a Dental Exam
The dental exam is critical to your ongoing oral health — and only your dentist can perform this. The dental exam can catch problems early, before you see or feel them, when they are much easier and less expensive to treat.
Here is some of what your dentist is looking for during a dental exam:
- damaged, missing or decayed teeth, including early signs of cavities
- condition of your gums, such as periodontal pockets, inflammation or other signs of gum disease
- to see how previous dental work such as root canals, fillings and crowns are holding up
- early signs of mouth or throat cancer, such as white lesions or blocked salivary glands
- other suspicious growths or cysts
- position of your teeth (e.g., spacing, bite)
- signs that you clench or grind your teeth
- signs of bleeding or inflammation on your tongue and on the roof or floor of your mouth
- the overall health and function of your temporomandibular joint (which joins the jaw to skull), checking for signs of disorders that can cause pain or tenderness
- the general condition of the bones in your face, jaw and around your mouth
As well as the visual inspection of your mouth, the exam may also include:
- an examination of your neck area, with the dentist feeling the glands and lymph nodes for possible signs of inflammation that could indicate general health problems
- dental x-rays which can show such problems as cavities under existing fillings, fractures, impacted wisdom teeth, decay under your gum line and bone loss caused by gum disease.
Digital x-rays, also known as digital radiographs, are an essential part of any dental care treatment plan. They are diagnostic, but they can also be preventative, by helping a dentist diagnose potential oral care issues in a patient’s mouth before they become a major problem.
At Expressions Dental Care in Richmond Hill, we use digital x-ray technology to quickly diagnose any oral health problems in real-time.
Are digital x-rays safe?
We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. The amount of radiation exposure from a full mouth series of dental x-rays is equal to the amount a person receives in a single day from natural sources. Digital dental x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered safe.
Dentists take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation when taking dental x-rays.
These precautions include using lead apron shields to protect the body and using modern, fast film that cuts down the exposure time of each digital dental x-ray.
How often should digital x-rays be taken?
The need for digital dental x-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs.
Your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend necessary dental x-rays based on the review of your medical and dental history, dental exam, signs and symptoms, age consideration, and risk for disease.