A routine dental check-up is a regular clinical exam that allows your dentist to list any potentially problematic health aspects of your mouth. During this first visit a diagnosis of several dental health issues is possible.
A. Your doctor will first take a look at your face and neck. Based on their general aspect, the dentist can spot out certain abnormalities: lumps, bumps or swelling that could indicate a problem.
B. The next thing to be checked is your mouth. Your dentist will make sure there are no discolorations and ulcers on your lips, gums, tongue, palate and cheeks: these kinds of abnormalities in the soft tissue sometimes point to other conditions. This would also be a good time for an oral cancer screening. A quick orthodontic check-up can be done within the same visit: your dentist can observe your bite and your jaw joint, see if there is anything that could use improvement.
C. Next thing on the list will be your gums and jawbone. Any signs and symptoms of gingivitis, gum disease and bone disease should better be noticed and treated a.s.a.p.
D. Finally, your dentist will check your teeth for cavities and other specific problems. Any areas where symptoms commonly occur, as well as those areas that are more likely to be affected by health threatening conditions will be specifically checked up.
A clinical exam by itself is usually less than sufficient to make a diagnosis of all health problems with your mouth. Actually, most problems related to the teeth and jawbone do not show and do not affect your general aspect. Without X-rays, a lot of conditions of the teeth and gums would go unnoticed until it’s quite late. X-rays offer a better and more accurate perspective of your mouth, as they help your dentist identify and rate problems such as bone loss and gum disease.
Initial X-rays will be useful during future visits to the dentist, as they allow your doctor to compare and see an evolution of you dental issues.