Digital X-rays are a relatively recent development that has greatly improved the efficiency, speed and safety of radiography. By using a sensor instead of film, radiation dosage to the patient has been reduced by at least 90%.
The digital x-ray image uploads to a video screen five seconds after the x-ray is taken instead of waiting five minutes for film to come out of a developer. They enable the doctor to see through teeth and bones in order to detect decay, infections and loss of bone.
DIAGNOdent® is a cavity detector which reads fluorescence levels reflected from a laser source. It is a huge improvement on the old way dentists have checked teeth for decay using a pick or feeling for the instrument to stick into a soft spot.
The problem with the old way is that it would fail to detect decay that was obscured by enamel fissures that were finer than the tip of the pick… by the time the pick would find the cavity, the decay would have been allowed to spread into the softer dentin layer until the obscuring enamel was undermined enough to break from the pick’s pressure.
The DIAGNOdent® is able to detect the decay much sooner, when it just has started into the dentin, instead of it having spread close to the pulp (nerve) of the tooth.
Gingival mapping, also called “probing” or “periodontal probing,” is the measuring of the depth of the pockets around the teeth, and the amount of recession of the gums that might be present. Doing this is very important so that we can note if the patient’s gum condition is improving, worsening, or staying the same.
Having this information is critical so that the dentist can determine if the present gum therapy is working, or if some other therapy is necessary. In our office, this mapping is updated yearly on our patient.
Oral cancer screening is an important part of every periodic exam, because although oral cancer is rare, depending upon how early it is detected, it has only a 57% survival rate after 5 years. Early stages are often unnoticed, so vigilance is important.
If you notice any lumps or changes in color in you mouth that don’t go away in 10 days, be sure to see your dentist or oral surgeon to get it checked.
When we do an exam, we don’t just look at the individual teeth. We also examine the mouth as a whole unit, how the upper arch of teeth and the lower arch of teeth interact with one another, and whether or not there is crowding or spacing between the teeth. This is called an occlusal evaluation.
If the teeth are not meeting properly, damage to the teeth and TMJ disorder can result. Crowding of the teeth, besides being unsightly, makes the teeth harder to clean. Spacing of the teeth can result in unstable teeth, resulting in tipping or mobility. Maintaining a healthy occlusion will help ensure a stable future for your dental comfort and your smile.
Each of our dental hygienists have been college educated and have extensive training in dental care; to include health promotion patient education. Each of our patients receive instructions for their best and healthiest smiles, according to their individualized dental needs. Instructions are reinforced and modified as needed, at each appointment.