Routine checkups and oral cancer screening are important because, as with many medical problems, the earlier one identifies a problem and treats it, the better and less invasive the outcome will be. At your initial dental examination you will meet the dentist and dental team, and be able to discuss any specific dental problems or questions and treatment options you may have in mind.
Your dentist will first discuss any medical problems you may have, as this may have an effect on your dental treatment. Next, your dentist will carry out a thorough examination of your mouth which will involve checking each tooth and making an assessment of your gums and the soft tissue (tongue and palate) in your mouth. This is important for oral cancer screening as well as other diseases that can manifest in the mouth and of which you may be unaware. It is important to have a checkup even if one has no teeth present.
When the dentist checks your teeth he/she will look for any cavities (holes) and any problems with your existing restorations (fillings) or crowns (caps). To help investigate any problems you may need special tests such as radiographs (x-rays). This will help the dentist identify any further decay or abnormalities present between the teeth or under the gum.
For children, six monthly checkups are essential to monitor the development and health of their teeth. For adults the frequency of checkups will depend on how prone they are to problems.
Your dentist will then discuss all the dental treatment options applicable to you and agree a treatment plan and fees. After a checkup please feel free to ask any questions particularly about any treatment options you may have heard of or read about that you feel may be suitable for you.