The first step in our dental care process is the initial comprehensive dental exam & X-rays. This includes a thorough dental examination, a periodontal (gums) examination, and an in-depth review of your medical and dental history.
What Happens during a Dental Exam?
- a check for cavities & fractured teeth
- a check for fractured or leaking fillings
- a check for teeth that are improperly aligned
- a TMJ (Temporo-mandibular joint/jaw joint) check
- an oral cancer screening
The Periodontal (Gum) Examination includes:
- a check for loose teeth & receding gums
- a check for swelling, blood and pus around gums
- a check for gum abscesses and other infections
- a check for areas of food impaction
- the gentle measurement of the depth of the gum collar around the teeth to determine the periodontal health
Dental X-ray Examination
A set of full mouth X-rays will be taken during your comprehensive dental exam visit to Silverdale Dental Center. Dental X-rays provide an overall picture of the teeth, bones and surrounding soft tissues. Dental X-ray examinations provide important information about possible dental problems that are not visible during the comprehensive dental exam. It is important that we have current dental X-rays for the examination of all teeth and supporting structures of the jaws. If you already have recent X-rays and can provide them to us, it may be necessary to only take a few X-rays at your appointment for cavity detection.
With the aid of your X-rays we will be able to detect:
- Tooth decay hidden between teeth
- Infections, such as abscesses or cysts
- Periodontal (gum) disease
- Impacted teeth & some types of tumors
- Damage to bones supporting the teeth
- The presence and location of permanent teeth growing in the jaw (for children who still have their primary or baby teeth)
X-rays can also be used to plan treatment for large or extensive cavities, root canal surgery, placement of dental implants, and difficult tooth removals.
After the first set of X-rays are taken during the initial dental examination, the X-ray frequency entirely depends upon each patients’ unique needs. Children may need X-ray examinations more often than adults because their teeth and jaws are changing and developing as their permanent teeth come into place.
Safety of X-ray Examinations
Today’s standard precautions and advances in X-ray equipment protect patients from receiving unnecessary radiation and ensure that X-ray examinations are very safe. The amount of radiation exposure during dental X-ray exams is extremely small and, more importantly, the benefit of these exams outweighs the miniscule risk of the dental X-ray dose.
Before the X-ray test, let your doctor know if you are or might be pregnant. If you are pregnant, your dentist may hold off on dental X-rays to reduce radiation exposure to your developing baby. The chance of harm to your baby is usually very small and the risk depends on your baby’s stage of development. If dental X-rays are absolutely necessary, a lead apron will be placed over your abdomen to shield your baby from exposure to the X-rays.