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Dental Exams Are Important: Here's Why

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle for years to come. Along with brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day, visiting the dentist twice a year for routine dental exams is necessary to keep your mouth in tip-top shape. At Ryba Dentistry, Dr. Ryba and his team are happy to offer the best in progressive, compassionate dental care. If it's been a while since you've had a dental exam, here's what you should know before scheduling your appointment at Ryba Dentistry.


Why Do I Need a Dental Exam?

Dental examinations are recommended for patients to have twice a year in order to screen for cavities, gum disease, and signs of oral cancer. Having your examined on a bi-annual basis is the key to detecting dental problems early. When minor oral health concerns go undetected, they can progress into more serious problems that can be more costly and extensive. Fortunately, visiting Ryba Dentistry every six months for routine oral exams can prevent this.

What Happens During a Dental Exam?

During a comprehensive dental examination, Dr. Ryba will examine your tongue, lips, cheeks, and floor of the mouth to look for signs of oral cancer or other oral lesions.  Next, he will read your periodontal chart, usually recorded by a dental hygienist. Periodontal charting involves the gentle insertion of a small ruler into the gum line to measure how far down the gums attach to the teeth. Each tooth has six sites to be measured and recorded into the chart. Gum recession is also charted during this portion of the examination.


Next, Dr. Ryba will use an explorer to feel each surface of every tooth. An explorer is a tool with a curved edge and sharp tip that helps him assess the hardness of each tooth surface. Surfaces that feel soft with the explorer may need treatment. Dr. Ryba will use the information from this part of the exam to chart all existing dental work and to start planning for any dental treatment that may be required.


Lastly, Dr. Ryba will compare the clinical findings to any relevant dental X-rays that were previously taken by his dental assistant. Using the information from the oral cancer screening, periodontal chart, dental charting, and teeth X-rays, Dr. Ryba will diagnose all dental conditions and develop a personalized treatment plan to optimize and maintain your oral health.


Routine bi-annual exams after the initial comprehensive exam are referred to as periodic oral examinations, and the same steps are followed as listed above to look for any changes in your oral health. Dental exams are also the perfect time to ask Dr. Ryba any questions you may have about your oral health and to communicate all desired outcomes in his recommended treatment plan.

Is a Dental Cleaning the Same as a Dental Exam?

No. A dental cleaning refers to the physical action of cleaning the teeth by a dental hygienist, while a dental exam refers to the inspection of all of a patient's oral structures to screen for cavities, infections, diseases, and oral cancer.


How Long Does a Dental Exam Take?

Comprehensive initial dental examinations can take 15 to 60 minutes depending on how much information needs to be charted, assessed, and discussed with the patient. Bi-annual oral €€exams are often not very long unless major changes to the patient's oral health have taken place over the past six months.  


How Much Does a Dental Exam Cost?

Most dental insurance plans cover routine dental exams and cleanings every six months. Please call our office for the latest pricing information in relation to your specific dental needs.


How Often Should I Have a Dental Exam?

Routine dental exams should take place every six months. Patients who experience emergency problems, such as broken teeth or dental pain, should schedule an emergency exam as needed.


Dr. Ryba and his friendly team are eager to help you prevent dental problems before they occur. Let us help you keep your smile healthy and strong for years to come! Schedule your routine dental exam today.

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