Preventative dental care, especially dental exams, are a crucial component of preventive healthcare, and they can lead to early diagnosis and intervention for a wide range of oral health issues. Here’s how dental exams contribute to early diagnosis:
- Detecting Dental Decay: During a dental exam, the dentist or dental hygienist thoroughly examines your teeth for signs of decay (cavities). Early-stage cavities may not cause noticeable symptoms, but they can be detected by visual inspection and X-rays during an exam. Catching cavities early allows for less invasive treatment, such as dental fillings.
- Identifying Gum Disease: Gum disease, such as gingivitis and periodontitis, often starts with subtle symptoms like gum inflammation and bleeding. Regular dental exams enable the early detection of these issues. Early-stage gum disease can be managed with conservative treatments, preventing it from progressing to more severe stages.
- Screening for Oral Cancer: Dentists routinely perform oral cancer screenings during dental exams. They check for signs of abnormal tissue, growths, or lesions in the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat. Early detection of oral cancer significantly improves treatment outcomes.
- Monitoring Bite and Jaw Alignment: Dental exams include an assessment of your bite and jaw alignment. Any issues with malocclusion (misalignment) or jaw problems can be identified early. Early intervention, such as orthodontic treatment, can prevent more significant problems down the road.
- Checking for TMJ Disorders: Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders can cause jaw pain and discomfort. Dentists can identify signs of TMJ disorders during dental exams. Early diagnosis allows for treatment to alleviate pain and improve jaw function.
- Spotting Tooth Wear: Dentists look for signs of tooth wear caused by bruxism (teeth grinding) during dental exams. Early detection of bruxism can lead to the prevention of dental damage and the implementation of treatment options like mouthguards.
- Monitoring Dental Restorations: If you have dental restorations like fillings, crowns, or bridges, regular exams ensure that these restorations are in good condition. Any signs of wear, damage, or issues with existing dental work can be addressed early to prevent complications.
- Assessing Overall Oral Health: Dental exams provide a comprehensive evaluation of your overall oral health, including the health of your gums, tongue, cheeks, and palate. Any abnormalities or issues can be identified early.
- Educating Patients: Dental professionals use dental exams as an opportunity to educate patients about proper oral hygiene practices, diet, and lifestyle factors that can impact oral health. Early diagnosis is often linked to improved patient knowledge and compliance with recommended care.
Regular dental exams, typically recommended every six months, play a crucial role in maintaining optimal oral health. Preventative dental care not only helps diagnose issues early but also allow for timely intervention and preventive measures, ultimately reducing the risk of more extensive and costly dental problems in the future.
Your Dental Exam can detect issues and lead to early diagnosis!
Dentists can do so much more for us than find cavities or tell us how to properly brush our teeth! In fact, preventative dental care, especially dental exams, can provide us with detection and early diagnosis for multiple diseases and health issues. Our dentists are really our first line of defense and diagnosis for our overall health and our oral health – which go hand in hand.
According to Nico Geurs, DDS, chair of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Periodontology, and director of the UAB Dentistry Wellness Clinic…
“Diabetes, leukemia, and immune compromised patients will exhibit oral signs [of disease]. Many times, these are the first outward signs of the disease and a keen eye could facilitate the diagnosis. Oral health is not separate from overall health.”
Learn what The Mayo Clinic has to say about Dental Exams
Oral Care Impacts Diabetes and Heart Disease
According to The Mayo Clinic…
“Poor dental health increases the risk of a bacterial infection in the blood stream, which can affect the heart valves. There is also a strong connection between diabetes and cardiovascular disease and evidence that people with diabetes benefit from periodontal treatment.”
The proof is in the pudding, as they say! A healthy mouth helps contribute to whole body health and vice versa. So, while you may just be brushing and flossing your teeth, you’re also helping the rest of you stay healthy.
Learn More: Early Detection Can Save Your Life: Oral Cancer and Gum Disease
Preventative Dental Care and the Importance of Oral Health
Oftentimes, we don’t even notice some oral health problems unless they cause us pain or discomfort. Maybe we have signs and symptoms of a problem that we never would’ve noticed until later on, when issues have progressed.
Related Article: 11 Things Your Dentist Wants You to Do Differently
The good news is, your dentist can look for multiple signs and symptoms that show signs in our mouths – such as oral cancer, Crohn’s Disease, and other serious health problems. So, when you get your regular dental checkups, you’re doing so much more for your overall health and wellbeing. That goes to show you how amazing preventative dental care is for you and your family!
Learn more about the Preventative Dentistry We Offer for Kids
Early diagnosis through dental exams can determine health issues such as:
- Heart Disease
- Crohn’s Disease
- Oral Cancer
- Intense stress
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
Oral Bacteria and Health
Bacteria in the mouth cause tooth decay – by feeding on the sugars in the foods and drinks we consume – they leave behind the waste, in the form of a biofilm known as dental plaque.
Our mouths have lots of bacteria that is usually harmless. (Did you know that the bacteria in our body aids with digestion and other biological tasks?) However, if you do not brush or floss regularly, oral bacteria can reach dangerously high levels. When this happens, tooth decay, gum disease, and oral infections can be the nasty result.
Bacteria and Decay Create Health Risks Throughout the Body
We talk a lot about the early diagnosis of disease during dental exams, here is evidence that the oral bacteria and high level of inflammation associated with the serious gum disease known as periodontitis can play a role in diseases in other parts of the body.
The following health issues and diseases are linked with poor gum health:
- Cardiovascular Diseases: There are researchers who suggest that heart disease, stroke and clogged arteries are linked to the inflammation and infections caused by too much oral bacteria.
- Infections from Abscesses: In some rare instances, severe tooth decay can lead to an abscess. The infection can travel to the heart, brain, or lungs, causing severe illness or even death.
- Pregnancy and Birth Complications: Severe gum infection has been linked to premature births and low birth weight.
- Endocarditis: This is an infection of the inner lining of the heart. This can occur when bacteria from other parts of your body, such as your mouth, move through your bloodstream and become attached to damaged areas in the heart.
Why is Preventative Dental Care So Important?
- Your dental hygienist can remove most of the stains that dull and discolor your teeth, so you’ll be left with a brighter, whiter, healthy smile.
- Having your teeth cleaned can prevent gum disease, which leads to early tooth loss.
- In America alone, one person dies from oral cancer every hour, but many of these cancers are curable with early diagnosis when detected at an early stage during routine cleanings that includes oral cancer screenings.
- A strong link exists between cardiovascular disease and gum disease. Because getting your teeth cleaned twice a year helps prevent gum disease, it can also reduce your chances of potentially deadly heart attacks and strokes.
- During a professional dental cleaning, it’s easy for your dentist to detect early signs of problems such as broken fillings and tooth fractures.
- Many dental insurance plans cover cleanings, and you’ll save money on dental expenses in the long run by taking advantage of your policy.
- If your dentist finds any serious problems during a teeth cleaning or exam, the office can help you make financial arrangements to cover the necessary procedures.
- Professional dental cleanings give your dentist or hygienist an opportunity to compare the state of your oral health to that of previous visits. If you’re moving in the wrong direction, immediate intervention can put you back on track.
- Regular check-ups and dental cleanings help prevent and resolve persistent bad breath.
Are you looking for a dentist in Lee’s Summit, MO? Learn more about how GPS Dental Offers Affordable Dental Care.
Nearly all oral diseases don’t cause pain until they are very advanced, so early detection through preventative dental care is key to stopping/helping any health problem. Make sure to see your dentist once every 6 months to stay on top of your overall health and wellbeing. Give us a call today to make your appointment!
Premier Dental in Lee’s Summit, MO is Accepting New Patients
If you’re looking for a new dental home, Dr. Caye and his Team at Premier Dental look forward to meeting you during your dental exam and cleaning. Preventative dental care and dental exams can detect signs of disease elsewhere in the body. Experts say infections inside your mouth can cause health problems in other parts of the body and signal diseases such as leukemia and diabetes. You may want to think twice before delaying your dental checkup, as you could be delaying early diagnosis.
Dr. Stephan Caye and his friendly, experienced team at Premier Dental offer affordable family dentistry and gentle dental care in the Lee’s Summit, MO area. Our office is conveniently located off of Highway 50 and SE Blue Parkway. We offer appointment times Monday through Friday to meet your needs. At Premier Dental, we provide most dental health services, from family and general dentistry to specialty procedures, including dental implants, dentures, endodontic or root canal treatment, teeth whitening, cosmetic dentistry, emergency dental care and much more. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Please call us at (816) 600-6330 to schedule an appointment.