The dental exam is critical to your ongoing oral health—and only your dentist can perform this. The exam consists, in part, of the dentist looking inside your mouth. In the past, you may not have ever realized an exam was taking place. Perhaps you thought the dentist was checking the work the hygienist had just completed. Not so. The dentist actually looks in your mouth for things that can affect your oral—and your overall—health. Many of these are things you can't see on your own, but that a dentist is trained to detect. Here is some of what your dentist is looking for during a dental exam:
early signs of cavities
condition of your gums, such as periodontal pockets, inflammation or other signs of gum disease (which can lead to tooth and bone loss)
to see how previous dental work such as root canals, fillings and crowns are holding up
early signs of mouth or throat cancer, such as white lesions or blocked salivary glands
position of your teeth (e.g., spacing, bite)
signs that you clench or grind your teeth (a treatable problem that can cause headache or sore jaw and can, if serious, lead to hearing loss and tooth loss)
signs of bleeding or inflammation on your tongue and on the roof or floor of your mouth
the overall health and function of your temporomandibular joint (which joins the jaw to skull), checking for signs of disorders that can cause pain or tenderness
the general condition of the bones in your face, jaw and around your mouth
The dental exam can catch problems early—before you see or feel them—when they are much easier and less expensive to treat. As well as the visual inspection of your mouth, the exam includes:
a complete medical history so the dentist knows about any health conditions that may affect the success of dental treatments or procedures or that may be associated with oral health problems.
dental x-rays, if necessary. These can show such problems as cavities under existing fillings, fractures, impacted wisdom teeth, decay under your gum line and bone loss caused by gum disease. At East City Dental, we use digital radiographs.
We will explain what's happening during the exam and give you a summary of the findings so you can book your follow up visits appropriately.
Your dental hygienist is an oral health professional whose area of expertise focuses on preventative oral health care. The dental hygienist will begin by reviewing your medical history with you including documenting any medications you are currently taking. She will inquire about your oral hygiene routine and any concerns you have with your teeth.
Once you and your dental hygienist have reviewed and agreed on the treatment plan, you will need to give your permission to proceed with the proposed treatment prior to beginning. Your treatment will likely include scaling (also known as cleaning) and root planning (debridement) to remove plaque and calculus from the tooth surfaces. This is done using powered instruments such as an ultrasonic instrument and/or hand instruments.
The dental hygienist may also share information with you related to brushing/flossing, risk of dental decay, smoking cessation, nutrition information, and/or the link between oral-systemic health based on your individual needs. Some of your teeth may then be polished to remove any remaining stains and if needed, you may receive a fluoride treatment to strengthen your teeth, prevent decay, and/or decrease sensitivity. At selected appointments Perio probing might be performed. It is done to measure pocket depths around a tooth in order to establish the state of health of the periodontium.
When your appointment is complete the hygienist will suggest the frequency of your next scaling appointment. If you are scheduled for a recall appointment it will include X-rays. The dentist will come in and review those findings with you.
The dentists screens your teeth during scheduled hygiene appointments. This is called a recall. If restorative treatment is required for cavities found, the office will schedule you to come back for a visit with the dentist. We pride ourselves on pain free dentistry using modern freezing techniques. Nitrous oxide (commonly known as laughing gas) is available to patients of any age. This helps to reduce dental anxiety when you come for your hygiene appointment.
Custom-fit mouthguards are prescribed and created by a dental professional from thermoplastic material and are based on a detailed mould taken of your mouth and teeth. These devices are highly personalized as your dentist can adjust the thickness of the mouthguard depending on your level of teeth grinding and clenching; they are designed to fit perfectly in your mouth. Custom mouthguards can be made for either sports protection or for nighttime teeth grinding, and are created differently depending on the intended use.
Certain sports and activities carry a high risk of falling or resulting in injuries that can impact your face. A mouthguard can help to protect your teeth and prevent them from injuring your lips or tongue.
Teeth grinding and clenching are part of a condition called bruxism, which is a sleep-related movement disorder that can cause a variety of problems, such as tooth pain, jaw pain, and sore gums. It can also damage your teeth. Wearing a mouthguard while your sleep can help keep your top and bottom teeth separated so they don’t damage each other from the pressure of grinding or clenching.
The first step your dentist will take when creating your custom-fit mouthguard will be to take an impression of your teeth. This is generally done using dental putty that forms to all the crevices of each tooth and creates an exact mould of your smile. This mould is then used in the dental office or, more often, is sent to a lab where the actual mouthguard is created. The structure is made by layering superheated plastic to precise specifications, and is then cooled to create an extremely durable piece of dental wear.
At East City Dental, we offer a full line of night guard and sport guard options.
A dental emergency can happen at any time. Tooth pain or a broken tooth are common reasons for needing to get in to see the dentist without and appointment. At East City Dental, we try to get you in for your emergency visit on the same day. Just call our office, and if we are unavailable, we will have instructions on our phone message of your next step. Our office participates in the Peterborough City on call system, which provides extended service until 8:oopm seven days a week.
We offer professional whitening at East City Dental. Although having white teeth is a desire of many, natural teeth are generally in a range of light greyish-yellow shades. Teeth naturally darken with age and their appearance can be affected by the accumulation of surface stains acquired from the use of tobacco products and the consumption of certain foods or drinks. Teeth are not naturally meant to be completely white; many Canadians want a brighter smile. Responding to this desire, a wide range of "whitening" options has become available to consumers.
Most bleaching products are peroxide-based and are actually capable of altering the colours of the tooth itself. However, not all tooth discolourations respond to tooth-bleaching treatments. Individuals contemplating tooth-bleaching should consult with a dentist to determine the cause of the tooth discolouration and to determine whether a bleaching treatment will have the desired result. This step is especially important for patients with fillings, root canal treatments, crowns and/or with extremely dark stains on the anterior teeth.
A number of different bleaching techniques and products are available to patients. Your dentist will use one of these a method called Vital bleaching to whiten your teeth. Vital bleaching is done on "living" teeth and can be used to whiten your teeth if they have become stained by food or tobacco, or if they have become dark with age
Our dentist may suggest:
1. Wearing a custom-made mouthguard filled with a special bleach for part of each day; or
2. Brushing with a special bleach mixed in toothpaste.
Home-use tooth-bleaching systems are available to our patients. Clinical studies support the safety and effectiveness of home-use bleaching gels when used appropriately. Tooth sensitivity and irritation of soft tissues can occur during bleaching treatment, but these effects are transient.
To schedule your routine dental cleaning and exam, contact our office to book an appointment today!