Oral Health Checks
Assessing the health of the whole mouth at Brenchley Dental
At Brenchley Dental we have created a relaxed and friendly atmosphere in the hope that your visit will be as enjoyable as possible. We are all about preventative care, and we know the importance of not only having healthy teeth, but also a healthy mouth in general. Regular and professional care is important in the maintenance of good oral health. Our patients are encouraged to visit our hygienist for a detailed assessment. By ensuring that each aspect of your oral health is in a good state, the risks of potential problems are lessened and treatments kept to a minimum. By doing so, we can help to ensure that you are fully confident in your smile.
Our Oral Health Check
History We will ask about your overall health and check that any elements or medication are not impacting upon your oral health. Mouth Cancer Screening Early detection is vital for the successful treatment of mouth cancer; every patient receives a screening at their regular oral health check. We will check for any lumps or other abnormal areas in the mouth, jaw or neck. These may include changes in texture, the colour of the gums, inner cheeks or tongue. Changes could have several causes, including:
- An infection
- Oral cancer
- A condition that could lead to cancer
Your dentist may be able to diagnose your condition; if not, you may be referred to a specialist. Assessing Your Teeth and Joints
- We check the alignment of your jaw joints; missing teeth can lead to a dysfunctional jaw joints.
- We check how your teeth meet and function as you chew, known as your “bite”, or occlusion.
- We identify any problems that could arise from a poor occlusion – such as broken or worn teeth, or headaches.
- We check for signs that you may be clenching or grinding your teeth, as long-term damage can occur.
- We look for dental decay (caries). We check your dental restorations are still strong, sturdy, and there is no damage to fillings or other restorations, such as crowns, bridges or veneers.
- We look for signs of erosion and abrasion from fizzy drinks or excessive tooth brushing.
- The teeth are checked for problems that can arise in hard to access areas.
We look for signs of dry mouth (xerostomia), which can have an impact on your oral health. Assessing your gums – looking for signs of underlying gum (periodontal) disease Here’s what your dentist will evaluate during a periodontal examination:
- Colour, texture, size and shape of your gums
Healthy gums are firm and pink. Diseased gums may be:
- Reddish or bluish-red
- Puffy or spongy
- Enlarged or swollen
- Shaped differently to normal
- Measurements of the spaces between your teeth and gums
Healthy gums cling tightly to the tooth and diseased gums tend to swell and detach from the tooth.
- Whether any of your teeth are missing, changing position or loose
- Loose teeth can be a sign of gum disease, where it has spread to the underlying bone, causing it to resorb
- Persistent bad breath, or a bad taste in the mouth
- Whether your gums bleed during our assessment
Bleeding after probing is an indicator of inflammation and gum disease. Gums that bleed during and after tooth brushing are also an indicator of gum disease.
Receding gums Normally, the roots of your teeth are covered by gum tissue. Many factors, however, may cause the gums to recede. These include inflammation, badly positioned teeth, and hard brushing. Teeth with exposed roots can cause several problems:
- Sensitivity to changes in temperature
- Increased risk of decay
- Unattractive appearance
- How much plaque is on your teeth? If there is any plaque present, this will be detected and methods of managing this discussed with you.
If we have concerns about your gum health, you may be referred to a hygienist to maintain your oral hygiene, or a periodontist. A periodontist is a gum-disease specialist.
Gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in the UK Radiographs (X-rays) You also may need X-rays of your teeth. Types of X-rays taken including Bitewings, Periapical or Panoramic Radiograph.
Bite wings Bone quality in the jaw area will be assessed, as this is essential to hold your teeth securely in position. Underlying decay (caries) that cannot be seen visually will be detected on radiographs.
Periapical X-ray Helps to show the extent and pattern of bone loss around each tooth. These X-rays show the entire tooth, from the crown (top) to the end of the root, which anchors the tooth in your jaw. Ultra-low dosage digital radiographs are taken approximately every 1 to 2 years, dependent on your oral health status. Repeating these measurements helps us track the progress of treatment, and check that no changes have occurred. You also may need an X-ray of your entire mouth. This is called a panoramic radiograph. This type of image shows other important structures in your skull, including the maxillary sinuses and jaw joints.
Our Oral Health Check follows a structured format on our computer system to make sure we do the same thing at each routine recall examination, so nothing is overlooked or missed. Seeing you for your regular recall appointments enables us to note any changes and review your treatment needs.
We discuss all future treatment needs, from routine Oral Health Checks and Hygiene visits to advanced restorative or cosmetic dental treatment, fully involving you, the patient, in this process.