Dr. David Eshom encourages patients to practice preventive dental care for good oral and overall health. Preventive efforts can help you avoid needing expensive cosmetic and restorative procedures later in life. To ensure that your teeth remain healthy and clean, it is vital that you attend regular dental checkups at our San Diego, CA, dental office, to have your teeth professionally cleaned and a complete oral exam performed. During your biannual exam, Dr. Eshom will identify and treat any dental problems in their earliest stages, before you develop complex problems that can negatively affect your health.
Practice excellent oral hygiene at home by brushing twice a day and flossing regularly. Know, however, that even the most diligent patients are at risk for tooth decay along the gum line and between teeth. Only a dentist or hygienist can remove bacteria buildup before it leads to tooth decay or gum disease.
At David Eshom Dental Health and Beauty, we are fully equipped with advanced digital and laser tools to help diagnose and treat your dental damage. With this type of technology, we can find the early signs of decay, fracture, and other dental problems, sometimes before you experience any pain or discomfort.
What Your Complete Oral Exam Includes
Dental checkups allow Dr. Eshom to keep a record of your dental health and hygiene. Most patients attend a dental checkup every six months to ensure optimal oral hygiene. However, if you are pregnant, smoke, or have been diagnosed with gum disease or diabetes, you may need to attend checkups more often, every three or four months. Dr. Eshom will recommend an optimal number of visits for each patient, to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
Your complete one-hour oral exam will include:
- Digital X-rays
- Intraoral Pictures
- Extraoral Pictures (see examples below)
- Professional Dental Cleaning
- Tooth Decay Detection and Examination
- DIAGNOdent Laser Cavity Detection
Digital X-rays, Intraoral Pictures, and Extraoral Pictures
Dr. Eshom may not require x-rays at every exam unless a potential problem arises. He uses x-rays to discover hidden tooth decay, wear, breakage, and fractures. For less radiation exposure, we use digital x-rays rather than traditional x-rays. Digital x-rays are generated on a monitor, rather than traditional x-ray screens. With highly detailed pictures of the entire mouth, Dr. Eshom can see the roots of the teeth and the bone around them. It also helps him monitor the development of younger patients’ teeth as they erupt.
We will perform intraoral and extraoral digital photography during your examination. Intraoral photography uses a small digital camera to take high-resolution images of your tongue, teeth, and gums, so Dr. Eshom can see the true condition of your mouth, up close. Digital x-rays provide imaging of your gums and jawbones, but with intraoral imaging, the doctor can zoom in to see the enamel of your teeth up to 50 times its actual size. THis helps him find early development of cracks, cavities, and other imperfections.
Extraoral photography records a picture of your face, with you smiling. Dr. Eshom uses a special computer program to generate a photo of you, with your fully restored smile. This will allow you to make truly informed decisions regarding cosmetic and restorative dentistry. Seeing side-by-side imaging of your current and potential smiles is quite amazing.
Professional Dental Cleaning
Our hygienist will perform a professional cleaning prior to the doctor’s exam. A dental cleaning, also known as a prophylaxis, includes the removal of plaque, tartar, and stains from the patient’s teeth. The hygienist will begin by using a hooked instrument, called a scaler, to gently remove plaque and tartar deposits from the surface of your teeth and gum line. If he or she discovers pockets between your teeth and gums, this is an indication of gum disease. In such cases, she may have to schedule a deep cleaning. It will involve scaling and root planing to remove plaque and tartar from below the gum line and streamline teeth roots.
When the hygienist finishes cleaning your teeth, he or she will polish them with an abrasive paste to remove minor stains. We typically recommend a fluoride treatment after your cleaning to help strengthen the enamel of your teeth and guard them against tooth decay. If you are interested in brightening your smile, we can also provide you with in-office or take-home teeth whitening.
Tooth Decay Detection and Examination
Our experienced hygienist will perform an initial examination of your teeth and gums, documenting any changes since your last visit. Dr. Eshom will then perform his examination, looking for signs of cavities, screening for oral cancer, and measuring any pockets between your teeth and gums. During his examination, the dentist may use several tools, such as a probe for measuring the gum pockets, an exploring tool, and a dental mirror. If any of these tools or procedures cause you anxiety, or you have a general fear of the dentist, let the doctor or hygienist know. We can administer sedation to help calm your nerves and minimize any pain.
If it is your first time visiting Dr. Eshom, he will perform a more comprehensive exam. The doctor will want to discuss your medical and dental history and a thoroughly check your head and neck for swelling or tenderness. He will also examine your tongue, lips, and cheeks for signs of oral health problems, and make sure your upper and lower teeth come together properly.
To help Dr. Eshom catch tooth decay, he will use a high-tech tool called a DIAGNOdent laser cavity detection. This technology emits safe and painless pulses of florescent light through the tooth to reveal any hidden that is not detectible with the naked eye. When a tooth is healthy, there will be little to no fluorescence; however, if there is tooth decay, the fluorescence will be evident. DIAGNOdent provides reading for each area of decay, revealing the extent of the cavity. DIAGNOdent allows Dr. Eshom to detect cavities long before you notice any signs or experience any symptoms. When a cavity is treated early, we can provide a simple tooth-colored filling to repair the tooth and prevent further damage from occurring.
Patient Education and Examination
After your examination, the doctor will explain any dental issues he finds, and recommend a course of treatment best suited for the problem and the patient. This may include a return visit for cosmetic or restorative procedures or visiting a specialist. Typically, the doctor will perform tooth-colored fillings and procedures like root canal therapy in the same visit.
The hygienist will also offer information regarding any new dental technology that may have become available for home use. She will answer any questions you may have about the products you currently use at home and recommend options that may work better for you and your family.
Benefits of a Complete Oral Exam
Your smile is an important asset, and seeing your dentist regularly will help prevent tooth decay from occurring, as well as detect the early signs of gingivitis, gum disease, and oral cancer. Other benefits of an oral examination every six months includes:
- Improve your oral health and overall physical health
- Prevent tooth loss
- Reveal a brighter and healthier smile
- Save you time, energy, and money
Call Us for an Appointment
If you would like to schedule a complete oral exam with Dr. Eshom, call our San Diego, CA dental office today.