Dental Exam & Diagnosis Ellicott City, MD

Diagnostic Procedures (Exam and Diagnosis)

Ellicott City Dentistry - Dental Diagnostic Exam and Diagnosis

Looking for a good dentist in Ellicott City, Maryland? We've got you covered. There are several dental services provided by our clinic here in Ellicott City. The following services are just a snapshot of the most requested services provided by our clinic.

Dental Exams

Dental exams are an essential part of keeping your teeth and gums healthy. The dentist and/or hygienist looks for cavities, bleeding gums and gum disease, and anything else out of the ordinary in your mouth. In addition to a visual check of your mouth, the dentist will take x-rays to check the health of your teeth under the gum line and look for cavities he/she cannot see with the naked eye.

Digital X-rays

As part of most dental exams, x-rays are taken. This is especially true if you are a new patient in a clinic that you have not been seen in before. Modern technology takes x-rays up a notch via digital x-rays, which quickly upload the x-ray pictures to a computer or tablet.
Digital x-rays eliminate the need to wait for x-rays to develop on x-ray sheets. The digital versions are also clearer and easier to read and do not require a scan and upload into the computer to place the images in a patient's file. Almost all dentists and dental practices now use the digital method of x-raying a patient's teeth and mouth during an initial or annual dental exam.

Comprehensive Oral Exams

Not only is the oral exam a dental exam, but also a full diagnostic procedure. This may be suggested by your dentist if something looks really out of the ordinary in your mouth. For example, teeth that look like they have been ground down and shouldn't be may be the result of excess stomach acid, bruxism, a misalignment of the jaw, TMJ, etc.. Your dentist wants to do a full oral exam to analyze findings and see the real cause.
Comprehensive oral exams include everything from a complete medical history to x-rays to sending samples and swabs to a lab for sores or strange tissue growths. It is a complete dental exam and then some, where the "then some" is needed. The dentist will only recommend and approve exam components he or she feels are warranted.
If the components of the exam are not needed, those components will be skipped. Additionally, if anything is not covered by your dental insurance, your dentist will inform you of the procedures or services not covered while providing you with enough information to make an informed decision about what to do next. Then you can make a choice as to what services you want to proceed with and are able to pay for out of pocket.

Diagnostic Procedures

Diagnostic procedures in dentistry include any procedure used to find a problem with a tooth, gum tissue, or other oral structures of the mouth.

    This includes:
  • X-rays
  • Referrals to bone specialists for signs of malformation or bone degeneration (common in people with osteoporosis or bone cancer in the jaw)
  • Swabs of mouth sores where the cause is unknown and is impacting dental or oral health
  • Surgical removal or biopsy of strange tissues
  • Extrapolation of fluids from swollen gums or abscesses to detect infection and/or disease
  • Bite imprints to determine if there are jaw malformations affecting the way a patient bites and chews.

These are some of the more unusual situations, but not uncommon in the dental community. A dentist is more likely to spot these issues than a general physician, since a patient is more likely to visit a dentist than his/her regular doctor for a problem in the mouth.

Gum Disease Diagnosis

When you think "gum disease" you are probably thinking of bleeding gums. While that certainly does fall under gum disease, there are other gum diseases that do occur. A gum disease diagnosis of gingivitis (i.e., bleeding gums) is the least cause for concern because in most cases it can be reversed with a better diet high in vitamin C and more frequent brushing and flossing. Somewhat more severe cases of gingivitis need the same level of care, but you may also be prescribed a medicinal mouthwash to treat the problem a little more aggressively.
Other gum diseases such as cancer, infections in the gums, abscesses (i.e., pockets of pus in, around or under a tooth) and periodontitis (which leads to tooth loss) may also be diagnosed with a dental diagnostic exam. Many of these issues can be treated and reversed or cured when caught early, which is why your dentist urges you to see him or her at least twice a year for oral hygiene checkups.

Ready for Your Dental Closeup?

Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to your mouth. Your teeth, gums, cheeks, tongue, and even the back of your throat all come under the care of a dentist. Seeing a dentist at least twice a year and making sure cavities are restored to prevent tooth loss is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. This is especially true in light of the fact that oral health problems have been directly linked to the health of your pulmonary system (i.e., heart and lungs).
Keeping your teeth, gums and mouth healthy helps keep the rest of you healthy too. If you are ready and due for a dental exam and cleaning, now is the time to schedule an appointment.

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