It’s time, 6 months has flown by. So you rock up to the dentist…reluctantly for your checkup. Well already you are one of the elite as less than 50% of the great British public even go to the dentist!
Hopefully it doesn’t smell like your childhood memories, we use aromatherapy candles to banish THAT smell since I’m a dental phobic, I don’t like it either!
You’re sitting in the chair squirming wishing it was all over as the voice calls out ‘Open Wide’. How do you know that he/she is doing what they are supposed to do? Is there a perfect dental check up?
Here’s what to look out for
1. They should be nice and smiley. Yes I know that is so not scientific but I think it’s plain common sense, to help you relax.
2. Extra-Oral Exam - This is a posh way of saying they should check all the stuff on the outside to do with your mouth.
TMJ- This is your jaw joint, is it moving freely, is it clicking, is there any pain?
Lips and muscles
They should check the lymph nodes under your jaw, behind your ears, along your neck. This is important as many diseases especially cancer can be detected early via these nodes
3. Intra-Oral Exam- This is basically all the pink stuff inside your mouth. Cheeks, inside lips, tongue, palate. The dentist is checking for any lumps and bumps and ulcers.
4. Periodontal Checks-Basically how healthy your gums are. The colour, consistency. A dental Probe should be used (has markings like a ruler) and is used to check how healthy your gums are. A score of 0 is the healthiest, 4 is the worst and means you have gum disease. Yup in dentistry we do it the opposite, of everyone else…the higher the number the worse your score!
5. Teeth- Checking old fillings still intact, no cavities, any chips cracks etc
6. X-rays – Only when necessary but this varies. Could be after 6months, 1 year, 2 years or somewhere in between. It depends on the individual and how many fillings they have or prone to.
7. Discussion - At the end they should sit you up, it’s hard to have a good conversation when you’re lying down unless it is pillow talk
They should let you know any issues, what to do next and give you a written treatment plan with costs upfront.
Notice teeth come way down in the list. There are a lot more things we check for than just your teeth!
The exam might be a little different if it is the first time you have ever been. For example I do a saliva analysis but might not do this at routine check-ups.
Let me know what your experience has been and if this helps you.