Oral exams / X-rays
During an oral exam at our practice, your doctor will typically discuss with you things like your overall health (for example if you suffer from any diseases and what medication you are taking), and how you take care of your oral hygiene. Your risk of tooth and root decay as well as gum or bone disease will be checked, and we will assess if you need any tooth restoration or replacement. We will also check your bite and jaw.
Sometimes we might need to take dental x-rays so that we can obtain detailed images of specific parts of your mouth. There are various x-rays that can be taken, for example: bitewing x-rays, periapical x-rays, occlusal and panoramic x-rays.
Mouth guards generally have as aim to protect upper teeth from getting damaged. As a rule they are therefore mainly used by children and adults who take part in sports, or alternatively by whoever is inclined to grind their teeth at night.
An effective, protective and durable mouth guard should be comfortable to wear, not affect your speech, durable (and therefore not tear) and easy to clean. Although mouth guards are available over-the-counter, these mouth guards are not made-to-fit, are often bulky and thus impact on speech, offer almost no protection and are not made to last.
Wisdom teeth removal
Your dentist may have different reasons for suggesting that your wisdom teeth be removed. Sometimes the reasons have to do with these teeth causing you pain or discomfort, and sometimes they have to do with preventative care.
If they are not causing discomfort, one still has to remember that wisdom teeth are right at the back of your mouth, making them difficult to clean. They are also often not needed for chewing. The fact that they furthermore generally only cut through the gums when your other adult teeth are already in place, makes that there is often not enough room for them, causing them to only come out partially or erupt at an angle. If there isn’t enough space for your wisdom teeth, it could cause damage to surrounding teeth, or cause crowded teeth in your jaw – resulting in your teeth being crooked.
This brings us to the discomfort part. A partly erupted wisdom tooth creates space for bacteria to enter. When bacteria have entered already, you might experience swelling of the gums in those areas, stiffness of the jaw and pain because of fluid-filled cysts or tumors having formed on or near the impacted tooth. These cysts can destroy surrounding tooth roots or bone. Your dentist might then suggest removal of the teeth to prevent infection.
Plaque is bacteria that build up on our teeth and when it mixes with minerals like calcium in our saliva, it eventually hardens and becomes tartar. Unfortunately this tartar contains the bacterial toxins that the plaque initially contained, and tartar can only be removed by a professional like a dentist or dental hygienist.
At our practice your doctor will first measure the depth of the space between the teeth and the gums at the beginning of the cleaning. We will then use cleaning instruments or ultrasonic instruments that move at high speed and a spray coolant to remove most of the build-up. Next we will carefully do some fine scaling and root planing with special hand tools. Once all that has been done, we will polish your teeth. This will remove all residual stain, after which we will apply a special fluoride gel to the tooth surfaces. The special gel (or sometimes foam) will help to prevent sensitivity of the teeth and protect them from future decay.
Oral cancer screening
Oral cancer is the 6th most common cancer in the United States. At our practice oral cancer screening is done during all routine checkups. It is a very easy and quick process during which your doctor will just feel for lumps or irregular tissue on your head, neck, cheeks and in your oral cavity. Soft tissues in your mouth will also be thoroughly examined, and sores or discolored tissues will be well-checked.