A dental exam is critical to your health—and only your dentist can perform it.
A large part of the exam seems to be the dentist looking inside your mouth.
And, because the dentist’s examination often occurs at the end of the appointment, after the technician has done some work, you may think all it is comprised of is a quick inspection.
This isn’t true. Your dentist is looking in your mouth for things that can have an impact on your oral—and your overall—health.
Many of these are things would be impossible for you to detect, but your dentist is highly trained to look for symptoms of oral and general issues. Here are some of the things your West Ryde Dental Clinic dentist is looking for during a dental exam:
- If the lining of someone’s mouth is extremely pale—a very light pink—your dentist might suspect anemia, a condition in which enough red blood cells aren’t circulating through the body. Another symptom of this can be a tongue that has lost its healthy, bumpy texture and become smooth to the eye.
- Early symptoms of cancer can be nearly invisible. So at every routine checkup, your West Ryde Dental Clinic dentist looks for signs of mouth or throat cancer, such as blocked salivary glands, chronic sores or ulcers in the mouth, lesions, unexplained bleeding, cysts, discoloured patches on the gums and tongue, and inflamed lymph nodes or neck glands. Your West Ryde Dental Clinic dentist will also look for things that might lead to cancer including sharp teeth, fillings or prostheses that might cause chronic ulcers, tobacco use, etc.
The primary feature of dementia is a slow but steady loss of cognitive function. The early symptoms are often confusion, disorganisation, loss of memory, and an unhealthy mouth. Repetitive tasks that must be remembered, like brushing and flossing, can often fall victim to confusion or forgetfulness.
This seems to be a two-way street, as poor oral hygiene may be a risk factor for dementia. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society followed over 5,000 older adults for at least 18 years and discovered that those who brushed less than once a day could be up to 65 per cent more likely to develop dementia.
- Gum infection is a typical symptom of diabetes. People with diabetes are more likely to develop gum problems because they often have a weakened ability to combat bacterial infections. During routine checkups, your West Ryde Dental Clinic dentist looks for typical symptoms of diabetes such as gum swelling, gum abscesses, and bone loss. If symptoms of diabetes are present, you will be referred for additional tests. Because gum infection is a symptom of diabetes, It is recommended that diabetic patients have more frequent dental checkups and dental cleanups.
- Nighttime Reflux. The technical name for this is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and it typically happens at night. If you suffer from GERD stomach acid can cause erosion of enamel from the insides of teeth, especially the upper back molars. But GERD can also do much worse, causing erosion of the esophagus and can even lead to esophageal cancer.
- The state of your mouth, particularly your teeth, may reveal that stress is taking a serious toll on you. Many stressed people grind their teeth—a condition known as bruxism. This grinding can wear down and chip your teeth. And since most teeth grinding takes place while asleep, many grinders aren’t even aware they are doing it. A customised night guard to wear while you sleep may help. You can find more information about dental night guards here.
- Trouble with your tongue. As referred to above, a healthy tongue is typically pink and covered with small nodules. A smooth, discoloured, or sore tongue may be a symptom of vitamin deficiencies, oral cancer, or AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome).
Finally, and breaking alphabetical order:
- Assess at-home oral hygiene habits. By inspecting your tongue, teeth, gums, and surrounding areas, your West Ryde Dental Clinic dentist can make a good assessment of what is working and what needs upgrading in your at-home oral hygiene program. For instance, plaque and tartar build-up between the teeth it may be a sign that your daily flossing is not working the way it should be. If there is evidence your habits need upgrading, our staff will ask questions about your oral hygiene habits and suggest techniques and tools to improve them.
The West Ryde Dental Clinic Advantage
At West Ryde Dental Clinic, our treatments and service are 100% personalised to you and your needs. Our dentists are highly motivated and accredited practitioners with graduate degrees from the University of Sydney.
Alongside our dentists, the supporting staff at West Ryde Dental Clinic are tremendously dedicated and experienced to ensure that each visit with us is as pleasant as possible.
Our Promotion Include
- FREE Consultation for Dentures, Implants, Orthodontics and Invisalign
- Teeth Whitening – $600Philips Zoom whitening in-chair
- GAP FREE – General Check-up, Scale and Clean, X-rays and Fluoride treatment (with any health insurance)
Call (02) 9809 7000 or visit us at Shop 20 West Ryde Marketplace 14 Anthony Road in West Ryde