Countless clinical studies have connected oral health to overall wellbeing, which includes mental and physical wellness. That means that the healthier your teeth and gums are, the healthier the rest of your body is. When you schedule semi-annual dental checkups, your dentist will conduct a series of examinations and screenings to ensure that no life-threatening illnesses are lingering or causing your mouth to exhibit symptoms. The best part about these being routine is that it gives those health conditions little to no chance of developing into their late stages. Read on to learn what tests your dentist conducts at your routine appointments to ensure your overall wellbeing.
Signs for Gum Disease
During your dental checkup, your dentist will thoroughly examine your oral tissues for any sign of gum disease. This is a common condition that impacts one out of two American adults. Although it’s highly preventable, bad oral hygiene can cause this bacteria infection to permanently damage your mouth. The purpose of your dentist conducting this examination is because they want to catch it in its early stages, before it has had a chance to cause drastic harm. Additionally, several clinical studies have connected gum disease to other health conditions found throughout the body, including respiratory infections, heart problems, and even Alzheimer’s.
Oral Cancer Screening
Many patients don’t realize that their dentist conducts an oral cancer screening every time they visit them for a routine checkup and cleaning. This is a quick, 5-minute inspection of your oral tissues, throat, and neck, to ensure that you’re not showing any early signs of this deadly disease. When it’s diagnosed sooner rather than later, the chances of successful treatment rises drastically. Some signs that your dentist will be keeping an eye out for include:
- Oral sores that haven’t healed within two to three weeks.
- Persistent mouth pain or discomfort.
- White or red patches on oral tissue.
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing.
- Difficulty moving the tongue or jaw.
Dental Decay and Infection
Cavities that have been left untreated can become more severe and progress into tooth infections. This is when the inner, most fragile portion of your tooth, called the pulp, becomes attacked by harmful oral bacteria. Sometimes, patients may experience a severe toothache or nothing at all, depending on whether or not their tooth is dead. Using digital X-rays, your dentist will be able to spot and treat possible infections of severe decay before it can cause larger problems. For example, an untreated infection can spread to other teeth, and eventually other areas of your body.
Your dentist is specially trained and equipped to diagnose and treat these problems during your checkup and cleaning to stop them from affecting your whole body health. That means that by visiting your dentist every six months, you’re also taking care of your mental and physical health!
About the Author
Dr. Clarine Hightower completed an advanced general practice residency and has worked in a variety of practices. She has experience treating patients of all ages, including children, and is passionate about providing everyone that walks through her doors with thorough preventive dental care. She understands the connection between the mouth and a patients’ overall wellbeing, which is why she takes the time to conduct high-quality and in-depth checkups and cleanings. For questions or to schedule a routine visit, contact Ambiance Dental Spa at 301-262-2624.