At the beginning of every dental appointment, especially when it is the patient’s first visit to the clinic, the dentist devotes ample time with the patient before he begins with any procedure. Dental consultation is a crucial part of the treatment process because it is during this time when the dentist and patient gets to know more about each other and it is during this time that the dentist carries out certain steps, to detect the dental problem and determine the right treatment process. When the dental takes dental exams and x-rays, he is not merely prolonging the time you spend in the clinic or carrying these out unnecessarily in an effort to hike up treatment costs. Dental exams and x-rays contribute to the success of the dental procedure because these two things, as well as all the other diagnostic procedures, make revelations that shall benefit both the dentist and the patient.
The Value of Dental Exams and X-rays
To better appreciate what your dentist is doing before he begins treating you, read the following points:
- What you see on your vanity mirror in the vanity mirror when you brush your teeth is never the whole picture of the current state of your oral cavity. Under the dental light and with the aid of his mouth mirror, the dentist is able to apply his expertise in identifying between healthy and diseased conditions.
- Dental inspection is a very thorough examination of all structures in the mouth, the teeth, the gums, the tongue, the lips, the cheeks and the floor of the mouth. Apart from visual inspection, he also utilizes palpation and percussion to better assess the condition of the mouth. There are simple signs that may not mean anything to you, but is indicative of serious conditions. Only a trained eye can provide proper identification and address.
- The intraoral camera is a helpful equipment that many dentists make use of in the office. It enables him take photographs of specific areas of the mouth for record purposes and also so that it could be presented to the patient on a screen. This gives the patient a better view of the problem; so that he can see and understand what the dentist sees when he opens his mouth.
- Dental x-rays give a different kind of picture for disease identification. Dental inspection can only reveal what is seen above gum tissue, but the dental x-ray reflects the tooth and the bone, detects dental caries, bone defects, subgingival calcular deposits and so many others.
- There are different types of x-rays. Each type is designated for a specific purpose. A periapical x-ray taken normally will take a picture of one to three teeth. When a bitewing radiograph takes the picture of a few teeth in occlusion (up to the third of the middle third of the roots). A panoramic x-ray takes a picture of the all the teeth in occlusion, as well as the adjacent structures. A cephalometric x-ray takes a picture of the lateral view of the skull and is used in Orthodontics, to study growth patterns. A transcranial x-ray takes a picture of the TMJ on either side, in three separate views. A hand-and-wrist x-ray takes a picture of the hand and wrist, to determine the dental age of the individual.