Shelby Twp. Dentist Discusses Getting Regular Dental Exams
Hi, this is Dr. Antolak from the GentleDentist.com. We’re your Macomb County dentist located in Shelby Township. I want to talk to you why it’s important to see a dentist on a regular basis.
Regular can mean a number of different things to a number of people. Regular as far as if your healthy in your oral condition, it might be once every 6 months. It could be, if you’re unhealthy, once every 3 months. Why the difference? Why the disparity?
The reason why is, we are dealing with different situations with people. People are all different depending on their health, their genetics, and whether or not they smoke. All of these are factors that affect the overall health of someone’s oral condition of the mouth.
Let me explain first of all what one would expect when they come in for a dental visit, a checkup, for example.
First of all, during the dental exam, I will palpate and will put pressure on the neck here. We check the thyroid. The thyroid gland is a gland here that controls the amount of your metabolism. Sometimes if you have an enlarged thyroid, that can affect the weight.
Then we check in this neck area right here, that’s where we have lymph nodes. These lymph nodes could be an indication of an infection somewhere in the body. We also check under the neck here because lymph nodes also exist there. If there’s large lymph nodes, then I might refer you to your physician because these could be an indication that you have an infection somewhere in your body that you’re not even aware of, which could potentially be life threatening.
Well then go ahead and feel the side of your cheeks. Here you have what’s called a parotid gland which is your saliva gland located in the cheeks here.
We also will feel along the head and the outside of the head which is an area where your muscles that you squeeze down on are. We put pressure there and find out if there’s a history of headaches. Sometimes people aren’t even aware of the amount of headaches that are there. They just kind of get used to it. But if we can do some things to dive a little deeper, we can determine that.
We also feel for the jaw joint. In the jaw joint, if it’s healthy and you can open and close it, and there’s no clicking at all in your jaw, that’s a healthy jaw joint.
Then we go inside the mouth and we look at all of your soft tissues. We look at your lips to make sure there are no growths at all going on there. We make sure that your saliva glands are functioning normally.
Then we do a very important part. We do an oral cancer check which is where we pull the tongue back and we look at the sides of the tongue towards the back, and we may feel in that area that indicates the health. The most common area of oral cancer is in the back of the tongue, underneath that area.
Usually if there is a white or a reddish type of lesion or If there’s something else that we see we will observe it. We’ll take a photo of it, a digital photo and we have the patient come back. If it is trauma from biting the tongue or something like that, then it will go away. If the lesion lasts we may refer to a specialist or we might do what’s called a biopsy.
Okay, so this is all still during either your initial dental examination or your periodic examination that you get every 6 months. I’m not done yet.
We’ll then look at the palette, the roof of your mouth, and make sure there’s nothing going on there.
Then, after we get done examining the soft tissue, we’ll start looking at the teeth themselves, to see if there are any cavities. We’ll see if there’s any cracks in your teeth and then make recommendations based on that.
So obviously there are a lot of things that are examined under the routine checkup exam that we do and I do that on every dental patient every single time. This is because early prevention is the most important thing.
We make sure that during these exams, if there are any signs of oral cancer that we nip that in the bud and we take care of that as soon as possible. Oral cancer is like the fifth leading cause of cancers. The reason why that is, is because many times it’s not diagnosed. As dentists, it’s our responsibility to diagnose oral cancer and it’s your responsibility to come in for regular check-ups so someone can evaluate that.
Physicians are not always educated, nor are they trained to have that ability to discern what’s happening for oral cancers, and the like, which I described.
That’s not even including getting your teeth cleaned which is really important for the health of the gum tissues and long-term success and long-term use of your natural teeth so that they last you a lifetime.
There are obviously many things I’ve described here. With each one there’s a potential of having something happen in a negative fashion. So, it is important to come in every 6 months for that exam.
If you have periodontal disease, or gum disease, then every three months is an important factor. Research shows that every 80 days, bacteria that causes gum disease will replicate and will reattach and recolonize these deep levels and start metabolizing bone and the enzymatic system, where it actually starts to dissolve the bone. So there’s a reason for that 3 month check-up.
So you will notice that either you have 3 month, 4 month, or 6 month time-frames to come in, so you can retain your teeth as long as you can, for a lifetime.
If you are a denture patient, for example, we try to see them once a year. The reason why that is, we like to see, make sure there’s nothing happening in their soft tissues, which are potential for having cancers, or any other types of malfunctions or dysfunctional areas of the mouth.
No matter what, it’s important to see your dentist on a regular basis. Right now I am recording this during the month of September, so get in before your insurance actually runs out for the year, if you have insurance.
Shelby Twp. Dentist Discusses Getting Regular Dental Exams
It would behoove you to take action right away if you’re having an issue. So if you do not have a happy dental home, we can provide one for you. Call 586-247-3500, or visit us on our website at thegentledentist.com. Thank you, and have a blessed day.