Dental Exam and Checkup
At Heritage Dentistry, we encourage all our clients to schedule regular dental exams and checkups at least every six months to ensure the health and sustained brightness of your smile. In addition to giving your teeth a professional cleaning, these visits are also an opportunity for Dr. Preston Hamrick to evaluate your overall oral health, as he looks for any indications of gum disease or any other underlying issue that may require treatment. As a native of Greenville and fourth generation dentist, Dr. Preston Hamrick is proud to serve his community by developing personal relationships with all his patients and working hard to understand their needs and goals. Read on to learn more about dental exams and checkups and why they are so important to your oral health. To schedule an appointment for a dental exam and checkup or learn more about our services, call us today at 864.292.5125.
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Regular Dental Exam Expectations
To avoid developing oral health issues and maintain a bright, healthy smile, it is important to follow good oral hygiene habits. This includes brushing and flossing your teeth twice daily, avoiding or limiting foods and beverages that can stain your teeth (coffee, red wine, tomato-based sauces, etc.) and avoid use of tobacco. Although following these self-care guidelines are incredibly important, scheduling regular dental exams are equally important to ensure that underlying issues that may not be obvious are identified and treated as early as possible.
During your regular examinations, you will receive a professional cleaning as well as a thorough examination of your oral health, which will include:
- Indications of gum disease: During your regular dental exam, Dr. Hamrick will measure the depth of your pockets for indications of gum disease. Healthy pockets should be 3mm or less, and any pocket deeper than this indicates gum disease. By scheduling dental exams every six months, you have a much higher chance of identifying this issue early
- Indications of tooth decay: Dr. Hamrick will look for areas of plaque buildup, cracks, or weakened enamel, which are indications of decay and increased risk of infection or cavities.
- Status of existing restorations: Dr. Hamrick will examine any tooth restorations, fillings or crowns for signs of wear and tear.
- Oral cancer screening:During your regular exam, Dr. Hamrick will examine your tongue, cheeks, gums, teeth and throat for any abnormal growths or other signs of cancer. Although oral cancer is unlikely, early diagnosis and treatment significantly increase the likelihood of having a positive prognosis.
If any issues are identified, diagnostic tests may be taken to gather additional information. For example, an X-ray may be taken to identify places of decay, the presence of cysts, growths, or tumors, or the density of your teeth. Taking multiple x-rays over a period of time provides us with a more complete data set to monitor your dental health and allows for identification of underlying issues that may not otherwise be identifiable.
Another important benefit of scheduling regular exams is that doing so allows us to review your oral health routine at home and provide you with tips on how to brush and floss your teeth properly, what areas need more attention, and any additional self-care recommendations, such as a mouthwash, water pik, or dietary shifts.
Treating Gum Disease
One of the most common issues identified during dental exams is gum disease. Although no one wants to be told that they have gum disease, identifying this issue is a good thing, because it means you can take steps to correct it and avoid experiencing the negative effects of advanced gum disease, which can include the loss of teeth and deterioration of the jawbone. Although there is no cure for gum disease, there are several treatment options that can halt and reverse its effects, which include:
- Medications: Bacterial infections are sometimes treated with antibiotics.
- Prescription Rinses: Antiseptic rinses can be a helpful addition to your daily oral health routine to reduce your risk of gum disease.
- Scaling and Root Planing: Gum disease in its earlier stages can often be halted with a scale and root planing procedure, which is similar to a standard dental cleaning, though slightly more invasive. The scale and root planing procedure begins with administration of a local anesthetic to reduce your sensitivity. Next, the bacteria, tartar and plaque are removed from the periodontal pockets and the roots of the teeth are smoothed to inhibit further growth and give your gums an opportunity to heal
- Flap Surgery: If the scaling and root planing procedure does not remove enough of the bacteria, tartar and plaque, flap surgery may be necessary. To access the tooth roots and remove the bacteria, tartar, and plaque, the gums are surgically pulled back, and once the area is cleaned, sutured shut.
- Gum Graft Surgery: Because gums do not naturally regenerate, gum graft surgery may be necessary if your gums have recessed. To restore your natural gum line and reduce your risk of developing gum disease again, grafting material is sutured over the recessed area. Grafting material may be from a donor, synthetic in nature, or taken from the roof of your mouth.
Cost of Dental Exam and Checkups
For patients with dental insurance, dental exams and checkups are usually covered, however every plan is different. Our staff are happy to review your coverage to determine whether your plan does cover dental exams and checkups and ensure you maximize your benefits and have minimal out of pocket expenses.
If you are a patient at our practice and do not have dental insurance, consider joining our membership club. Because we value your loyalty, we have launched this club to help save you and your family money on treatment and simplify payments for preventative care. We offer three levels of membership: child, adult, and perio membership. Professional dental cleanings, doctor exams, necessary X-rays, and a 5% discount on all other treatment (some exclusions apply) are included in all membership packages.
You can sign up today and start saving money on treatment online or call us at (864) 292-5125.
For your convenience, we accept all forms of credit and debit cards, including Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express.
Fall in Love with Your Smile Again
At Heritage Dentistry in Greenville, South Carolina, we are committed to providing 5-star customer service that is relationship based, along with a comprehensive range of treatment options that will provide you with optimal oral health and make you fall in love with your smile again. To schedule an appointment for a dental exam and checkup or learn more about our services, contact our Greenville dental team today at (684) 292-5125.