When you go to the dentist’s office, it’s common to spend most of your time with the hygienist. That’s the person who gets your teeth squeaky clean. When they’ve finished the job, you’ll hear them say, “The dentist will be right with you.” But what does the dentist actually do…?
Things You Didn’t Know Your Dentist Was Doing
It may seem like the dentist just ensures the hygienist did a good job. While they make sure all your teeth look healthy and your gums are pink, there’s much more going on in that seemingly brief time they’re gazing in your mouth.
Smelling Your Breath
Ok, but shouldn’t my breath smell pretty great right now? Exactly. It should. But lingering bad breath following a cleaning can be a symptom of an underlying problem such as salivary gland issues, acid reflux, or infection in the mouth, nose, or throat.
Checking for Cancer
Oral cancer can affect any part of the mouth, including the lips, tongue surface, gums, salivary glands, as well as the floor and roof of the mouth. If not detected and treated early, it can be life-threatening. Your dentist is looking for any signs of cancer for early screening.
Screening for Diabetes
People with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes are prone to gum infection because they cannot effectively fight bacterial infections. At your regular checkups, dentists look for various signs of diabetes, including:
- Swelling gums
- Abscesses in the gum
- Bone loss
Examining Your Gums
Your dentist examines your gums during your dental checkups. They look for any signs of bleeding or swelling on the gums and large gum pockets, both of which are signs of unhealthy gums or gum disease. Gum disease can lead to many health problems, including stroke, diabetes, and heart disease.
Inspecting Salivary Glands
Your salivary glands need checking. If they aren’t producing an adequate amount of saliva, your teeth and mouth are more prone to cavities, bacteria, infection, as well as bad breath. Someone suffering from dry mouth is probably in this category.
Investigating Your Tongue
A close examination of the tongue will reveal a healthy or unhealthy mouth. Your dentist will check the size and texture of the tongue. Your tongue’s size and surface can determine a lot about your dental health.
Though the dentist may not be the person you spend the most time with during your checkup, the quality of time is significant. There’s so much that your mouth can tell them about your overall health and wellbeing. Next time you go for your biannual appointment, you’ll know what they are looking for and proactively ask questions about any health concerns.
Have you scheduled your next trip to the dentist? You can make an appointment with us now. We hope to see you at Asheville Dental soon.