Oral Exam & Radiographs
Clinical Oral Exam
Many people should see their dentists once or twice a year. Your dentist will examine your teeth and gums for signs of tooth decay, gingivitis, and other health problems. Your dentist will recommend how often to have routine checkups. Talk with your dentist about any special conditions in your mouth and any ways in which your medical/health conditions affect your teeth or oral health. For example, cancer treatments, pregnancy heart diseases, diabetes, dental appliances (dentures, braces) can all impact your oral health and may necessitate a change in the care of your mouth and/or teeth Be sure to tell your dentist if you have experienced a change in your general health or in any medications you are taking since your last dental visit.
Dental X-rays are typically performed yearly. They can happen more often if your dentist is tracking the progress of a dental problem or treatment. If you’re a new patient, you’ll probably undergo dental X-rays so that your new dentist can get a clear picture of your dental health. This is especially important if you don’t have any X-rays from your previous dentist. While dental X-rays do involve radiation, the exposed levels are so low that they’re considered safe for children and adults. If your dentist uses digital X-rays instead of developing them on film, your risks from radiation exposure are even lower.
Pregnancy is an exception to the rule. Women who are pregnant or believe they may be pregnant should avoid all types of X-rays. Tell your dentist if you believe you are pregnant, because radiation is not considered safe for developing fetuses.