Going for a dental check-up only when you have a problem with your teeth is not enough. It is essential to visit the dentist more regularly. Whenever you go for dental visits, the dentist examines not only the health of your teeth but also several other issues that may affect your overall health.
Here are seven things you probably didn’t know your dentist does during your checkup.
Smelling Your Breath
Bad breath, or halitosis, could be an indication of underlying dental problems, including:
- Gum disease
- Poorly fitting dental appliances
- Oral yeast infection
Bad breath may also be a sign of bronchitis, pneumonia, diabetes, and acid reflux. Hence, a dentist will generally sniff your breath to find out whether you have potential problems.
Checking for Diabetes
Individuals with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes are prone to gum infection because they can’t fight bacterial infections effectively. At your regular check-up, your dentist will also look for various signs of diabetes, including:
- Swelling gums
- Abscesses in the gum
- Bone loss
If the dentist suspects diabetes, he would recommend specialized tests to confirm the diagnosis.
Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer can affect any part of the mouth, including the lips, tongue surface, gums, salivary glands, as well as the floor and roof of the mouth. It can be life-threatening if not detected and treated early. Hence, it is imperative that, at every routine checkup, your dentist examines your mouth for signs of oral cancer.
Checking for Decay
Your dentist will also check your enamel for any signs of weakness or tooth erosion. This process can help the dentist tell whether there’s a potential cavity. The dentist may recommend dental filling treatment if you already have a cavity.
Examining Your Tongue
Is your tongue painful or discolored? While these signs usually are not serious, they sometimes could be an indication of an underlying problem. A sore tongue, for example, could be indicative of:
- Oral cancer
- Vitamin deficiency
Your dentist may perform X-rays at your checkup. In fact, many recommend them if you’re visiting for the first time. Others may first examine your teeth to determine if X-rays are necessary.
Nonetheless, it’s crucial to have new X-rays taken at least once every year. X-rays play a significant role in the detection of problems that can’t be found through a visual exam. They can help detect:
- Bone loss
- Growth and cysts
- Impacted teeth
Analyzing Your General Medical History
Your dental health is connected to your overall health. It is vital that your dentist knows of any existing medical conditions, any medications you are taking, any treatments you’ve undergone, and your lifestyle habits.
With this knowledge, your dentist can easily avert any complications that may occur during your treatment. Therefore, your dentist will always consider your medical history at your routine checkup.
A regular dental checkup is more important than you might think. It’s important to schedule appointments with your dentist at least once every six months to help you uphold good oral health and prevent detrimental oral issues from occurring.