Periodic Oral Evaluations and Periodontal Exams: What, When and Why?

Oral Evaluations

What is a Periodic Oral Evaluation?

Each time your dentist looks into your mouth, she or he is assessing the health of your teeth, gums, tongue, neck, jaw and more.

Here’s what your dentist is looking for:

  • Signs of decay in teeth
  • Lumps, bumps or abrasions that might indicate signs of cancer
  • Bone loss
  • Gum health
  • Healthy bite
  • Bone structure
  • Signs of bruising that might indicate abuse

Part of the Periodic Oral Evaluation is a Periodontal Exam, when your dentist looks at your gums for:

  • Sings of infection
  • Signs of oral cancer
  • Loose teeth
  • The depth of the space between you tooth and gum

Oral EvaluationsYour gums should attach firmly to your teeth. If they are not firmly attached, pockets can form and lead to gingivitis, which is a mild form of gum disease. If not treated, gingivitis can become a more serious gum infection called Periodontitis. Periodontitis is a serious infection that can destroy the tissue and bone that supports the teeth and cause tooth loss. Periodontitis can also lead to an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.

When Should You Have a Periodic Oral Evaluation?

The only way you will know how often to have a Periodic Oral Evaluation is to have an initial evaluation. Your dentist can assess your needs for maintaining good oral health. Once your dentist gets to know the condition of your mouth, how effective your oral hygiene is at home and if you are dealing with any risks factors, you and your dentist can decide on the frequency of your visits.

Why Should You Have Periodic Oral Evaluations?

Oral EvaluationsMany of the problems that the dentist looks for at a Periodic Dental Evaluation and Periodontal Exam, are preventable.

A Periodic Dental Exam is a good way for you and your dentist to evaluate your oral health and focus on the areas that may need some work. Brushing and flossing at home are good measures to take to prevent gingivitis and other oral health problems. Your dentist can help make sure that the regime your are practicing at home is as effective as possible.

Your doctor will also recommend twice yearly, or more, exams and cleanings in the office, to ensure good health. High risk patients might need more frequent visits than those requiring only twice-a-year visits.

High risks include:

  • Patients with gum disease
  • Patients who are prone to getting cavities
  • Patients with diabetes
  • Patients who smoke
  • Patients prone to plaque build-up
  • Patients with weak immune systems who are susceptible to bacterial infection

Contact Us for an Oral Evaluation

Dr. Stone believes that people should be able to keep their teeth for their entire lives. Learning to care for your teeth at home and getting Periodic Oral Evaluations is the key to good oral health.

Patient education is an important part of helping our patients maintain healthy teeth and gums. Check out Tips for Toothcare and Cleaning & Regular Checkups on our website.

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