Most people recognise the need to have a regular dental check up or examination to look at their tooth and gum health but there is so much more to what we do than this. The range of non tooth related things that we check as part of a full NHS Dental Check Up is quite extensive…. see if there are any here that surprise you.
Dental Check Up- more than just teeth
We look thoroughly around the outside of your mouth and face as part of the process as this can alert us to any areas that do not look even or symmetrical which might indicate a dental problem. We also check that your jaws open and close and slide around smoothly. Problems here can point to tooth clenching or grinding issues among others.
Once inside the mouth we are looking at all the soft parts. The first and most important thing we are checking for are any signs of oral cancer. In recent years the number of people being diagnosed with this has risen and like many things, early detection is critical to successful treatment.
While we are looking round we can also detect many other conditions caused by viruses, fungi, allergy or problems with your immune system. Just two example are
- Denture wearers are for example much more prone to yeast infections which can be easily spotted and treated by a trained dentist but denture wearers often don’t realise they have.
- some patients react to certain metals in filling materials in the mouth and this manifests as a stubborn white patch. Again spotted early these are usually easily remedied.
The tongue can give us lots of information, including further clues if someone is grinding or clenching their teeth and some times it is possible to detect signs that would suggest further testing for anaemia or diabetes in the mouth.
Chewing muscles also hold clues to habits that may reduce the overall life expectancy of your teeth if left untreated.
Most if this is done before we even get started on the teeth and gums!. Thankfully for most of our patients we find nothing out of order, but if something is there isn’t it better caught early? A Dental Check up really is more than just teeth and gums.
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