Dr. Holbrook performs a comprehensive dental exam at your initial dental visit. At regular check-up exams, your dentist and hygienist will include the following:
Examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs)
Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
Oral cancer screening
Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
Gum disease evaluation
Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
Examination of tooth decay
All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
Examination of existing restorations
Check current fillings, crowns, etc.
How Does a Dental Cleaning Work?
Registered Dental Hygienists typically perform professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis). Your cleaning appointment will include a dental exam and the following:
Removal of calculus (tartar)
Calculus is hardened plaque left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and requires removal using special dental instruments.
Removal of plaque
Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease!
Removal of stain and plaque following tooth brushing and scaling.
Dental radiographs (x-rays) are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam. Dentists and dental hygienists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and complete an accurate treatment plan. Without x-rays, problem areas may go undetected.
What Can X-Rays Detect?
- Abscesses or cysts.
- Bone loss.
- Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.
- Decay between the teeth.
- Developmental abnormalities.
- Poor tooth and root positions.
- Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line.
Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!
Are X-Rays Safe?
We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. The amount of radiation exposure from a full mouth series of x-rays is equal to the amount a person receives in a single day from natural sources.
Because dental x-rays produce a low level of radiation, they are considered safe. Dentists take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation when taking dental x-rays. These precautions include using lead apron shields to protect the body and using modern, fast film that cuts down the exposure time of each x-ray.
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When Are Dental X-Rays Needed?
The need for dental x-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs. Your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend necessary x-rays based on the review of your medical and dental history, dental exam, signs and symptoms, age consideration, and risk for the disease.
How Often Do I Need Dental X-Rays?
Full Mouth Dental X-Rays
Typically, Dr. Holbrook recommends a full mouth series of dental x-rays for new patients. A full series is usually good for three to five years.
Bite-wing x-rays (x-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together) are taken at recall (check-up) visits and are recommended once or twice a year to detect new dental problems.
Schedule a Consultation
To learn more about dental exams & cleanings or to schedule an appointment at our practice in Albuquerque, New Mexico, please call 505-881-1159 or complete an online contact form and a member from our team will be in touch with you.