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Diagnosis and treatment
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Dental exams must be done in order for a dentist to perform any treatment. We take the time to explain what is going on in your mouth and invite you to find the right solution for your long-term dental goals and your budget.
There are three types of dental exams we perform.
The dentist will look at the specific, localized area that’s bothering you.
For instance, let’s say you have a tooth that hurts. Your dentist will only look at the one tooth or area to diagnose the source of your concern.
This exam gathers information about your entire dental health and creates a baseline for future visits. We take not of irregularities and monitor changes as you continue to see us. The dentist will look at your whole head and neck as well as look at the function of your jaws and how your teeth come together.
Areas Looked At:
What the Dentist Is Looking For
To complete a comprehensive exam, the dentist must examine areas underneath the gums and bone as well. Because of this, a full mouth series of x-rays is usually needed.
This is an exam for patients who have already had a comprehensive exam.
The dentist will check for any changes in your head and neck and let you know if there are any new concerns.
X-rays are an important tool to help diagnose most dental issues. X-rays give a view of one or more teeth and the tissues around them. This helps the dentist check out an area of concern or explore how deep an infection goes.
There are four types of x-rays.
Periapical x-rays are also called PAs. A PA is a single x-ray that looks at the crown and root(s) of a tooth or teeth.
Sometimes it takes several single x-rays to evaluate a tooth or an area. PAs are used to find infections that are under your gums. They’re also used for root canals and oral surgery.
A bitewing x-ray is also called a BWX. A BWX looks at the crown of a tooth or teeth while you’re biting down. This x-ray gives the dentist a view of your mouth’s upper and lower arch together. The dentist uses BWXs to diagnose cavities and gum disease.
A panoramic x-ray looks at your whole mouth. It shows all your teeth, the tissues around them, and the upper and lower jaws. Sometimes it can capture an image of your sinuses.
The panoramic x-ray helps your dentist plan for dentures, extractions, braces, and implants.
A full mouth series of x-rays is also called an FMX. It includes both bitewing x-rays and periapical x-rays. These x-rays allow the dentist to look for many things and aids in the comprehensive exam. The FMX shows:
An adult with all of their teeth can have anywhere from 18-21 x-rays to complete this series.
The series of x-rays give your dentist a look at the current health of your mouth. Your dentist might use these x-rays if you need a tooth pulled or a root canal. They can also help find a cyst or tumor in your jaw
Second opinions can help build your trust in your current dentist or they can give you another option for treatment elsewhere.
A second opinion lets a licensed dentist give you their insight to help you decide if you are ready to move forward with a treatment plan from another dental office. In order for our dentists to help you, you need to bring your x-rays and other pictures. If they’re not clear enough, you’ll need to have a new set taken at the clinic.
Our dentists can give you their expert opinion and explain what’s going on with your teeth and oral health. They may also give you a different treatment plan that may be better suited to your long-term dental goals and budget.
Dentistry isn’t an exact science. Figuring out how to treat you involves the dentist’s expertise combined with your symptoms and x-rays.
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