All those funny numbers being called out and asking about your lifestyle choices? It’s only natural to feel inquisitive. However, you can feel more relaxed by having a better understanding of what happens during your dental check-up.
Your mouth and your body are closely connected. For that reason, we ask a lot of different questions, as your lifestyle and general health may affect conditions in your mouth.
The following drugs can cause a dry mouth: antihistamines, decongestants, painkillers, high blood pressure medications, muscle relaxants, drugs for urinary incontinence, Parkinson’s disease medications and antidepressants.
The following drugs can cause bleeding problems during oral surgery or treatment for gum disease: aspirins and anticoagulants.
Soft Tissue Reactions
The following drugs can cause reaction to the soft tissues: blood pressure control, immunosuppressive agents, oral contraceptives and some chemotherapeutic agents.
The following drugs can cause a metallic taste in the mouth: cardiovascular agents, central nervous system stimulants, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, respiratory inhalants and smoking-cessation products such as nicotine skin patches.
Antacids are used to treat heartburn/acidic reflux and they often contain sugar or other tooth damaging artificial sweeteners.
Smoking has negative effects in the oral cavity. The effects are:
- stained teeth
- bad breath (halitosis)
- tooth loss
- gum disease
- loss of taste and smell
- reduced blood supply to the mouth
- increased build-up of plaque and tartar on your teeth
- delayed healing following dental extractions and other oral surgery
- increased risk of oral cancer.
People with diabetes are at a higher risk for gum problems because of poor blood sugar control. As with all infections, serious gum disease may cause blood sugar to rise. This makes diabetes harder to control because you are more susceptible to infections and are less able to fight the bacteria invading the gums.
Dental and Heart Disease
A number of studies have shown that people with gum disease may have a higher risk of heart disease. Bacteria and inflammation in the gums may escape into the blood system and cause blockages in the blood vessels, which reduce blood flow to the heart.
Alcohol consumption may cause a number of acute mouth health effects. They are:
Increased risk of oral cancer is one of the most important effects of high alcohol consumption, particularly when combined with other unhealthy behaviours. It has been estimated that those who drink and smoke heavily have 38 times the risk of developing oral cancer as those who abstain from both.
There is evidence to suggest that high alcohol use can increase the risk of tooth decay – alcoholics generally have a higher number of decayed teeth requiring extraction or restoration. Also, some research suggests that high alcohol consumption can increase the risk of periodontitis.
High alcohol use can also increase the risk of tooth erosion. Regular consumption of acidic drinks such as wine, cider and alcopops can contribute to this.
Accidental Dental Trauma
Heavy drinking increases the chances of accidental dental trauma or facial injury. For instance, the trauma or injury might be the effect of a fall or traffic accident.
X-rays are used to show the areas in between your teeth and under the edge of your fillings. They can show whether you have an infection in the root of your tooth and how severe the infection is. X-rays often catch things early, even before they begin to cause discomfort.
Baby teeth are numbered 1-20 – 5 per quadrant named ABCDE.
Adult teeth are numbered 1-32 – 1-8 per quadrant.
The dentist will go around each tooth with a measuring probe. They are looking to make sure that all the gaps between the tooth and the gum are under 3mm. They take an average reading per quadrant of the mouth – anything that is bigger than that or has an area of bleeding is not healthy. Then, the dentist will determine the extent of the problem.
Tooth Wear Screening
Tooth wear could be caused by the following:
- scrubbing too hard with your toothbrush
- drinking acidic drinks
- grinding your teeth
Oral Cancer Screening
As well as the teeth, your dentist is also looking at the soft parts of your mouth. These include your tongue, gums, cheeks and other hard areas including the palate and the roof of your mouth. The screening also extends to your lips, neck, and jaws. They screen the areas to look for abnormalities including cancer.
Jaw Joint Issues
Your dentist will check your jaw joints by placing their fingers in front of your ears and asking to open and close your mouth and move the jaw from side to side. Headaches and limited mouth opening can be the side effects of a clicking/popping jaw.
Prevention and Advice
Finally, the dentist will give you some advice on your oral health. They will look at your oral hygiene to check plaque and calculus levels. Moreover, they will ask you about your home care regime and about your diet.
Hopefully, now you can understand how important it is to keep up with your dental exam check-up!
Your dentist will suggest when you should have your next dental exam check-up based on how good your oral health is. The time between check-ups can vary from 3 months to 2 years, depending on how healthy your teeth and gums are and how high your risk of future problems is.
Pricing and how to book your dental check-up
Our dental check-up including X-rays costs £48 for new clients. Additionally, the check-up for our regular clients costs £35; for children under 16, it costs £10 and for teenagers who are 16-18 years old – £29.
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