Dental exams are an important part of proper diagnosis, and include evaluation of both hard and soft tissue inside the mouth. They include the evaluation of patients’ teeth for cavities and other dental concerns such as fracturing and abrasion. When necessary, dental x-rays may be a critical part of the diagnostic process. Be aware that Dr. Victor only takes x-rays that are necessary for proper diagnosis. Also know that we have implemented low dose rate digital x-rays here at Springfield Smiles. This allows us to reduce patient radiation exposure by up to 90% compared to traditional film based x-rays.
During cleaning and comprehensive exams, Dr. Victor also thoroughly evaluates the oral cavity for the identification of benign and cancerous lesions If necessary, appropriate treatments (such as antibiotics, antifungals, biopsies, etc…) may be prescribed. For more information on common mouth sores such as cankers and cold sores, visit the American Dental Association’s website on mouth sores.
When necessary, Dr. Victor discusses potential restorative and preventative procedures with the patient to ensure they have a thorough understanding of the options, and then together they decide on appropriate treatment.
When is it appropriate to bring in your child for an exam and cleaning? The ADA recommends regular dental check-ups, including a visit to the dentist within six months of the eruption of the first tooth, and no later than the child’s first birthday. Dr. Victor endorses this policy, and as the child grow, he encourages you to bring your child with you to your exams in order for them to get used to the Dentist’s office. Dr. Victor offers free exams for children under 5, or until a treatment need is identified, whichever is sooner.
Preventive care such as cleanings and fluoride treatments provide your child with “smile” insurance. Routine dental exams uncover problems that can be treated in the early stages, when damage is minimal and restorations may be small. Our low dose digital dental radiographs (X-rays) are taken only when necessary, in order to see how the teeth are developing and to spot hidden decay.
Oral Cancer Screenings
At Springfield Smiles, we routinely perform oral cancer screenings as a part of our dental examination. Regular check-ups, including an examination of the entire mouth, are essential in the early detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions. Oral Cancer often starts as a tiny, unnoticed white or red spot or sore, and can affect any area of the oral cavity including the lips, gum tissue, cheek lining, tongue and the hard or soft palate.
Other signs can include an unexplained sore that bleeds easily or does not heal within 2 weeks, or a color change of the oral tissues. It may also present as a pain or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips, or manifest itself as a change in the way the teeth fit together. Although many of the lesions that present themselves like this are harmless, some are not. Typically over 30,000 Americans get oral cancers every year, and since early detection of these lesions greatly improves patient outcome, it is important to have your dentist regularly screen for these lesions.
If you notice something different about your mouth and aren’t sure what it is, we encourage you to come see Dr. Victor for an exam. For more information, visit the American Dental Association’s website on oral cancers.