Dental (Oral) Exams in La Jolla, CA
The health of your smile involves more than just your teeth. From soft tissues and bone height to oral cancer screenings, scheduling regular dental exams with our La Jolla, CA dentist can help you keep your smile healthy for years to come.
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Dental examinations are an important part of maintaining good oral health. Regular checkups and good oral hygiene prevent tooth decay and cavities.
Types of Dental Exams
Depending on your oral health status, current dental needs, and specific concerns, dental exams are usually performed every six months, with comprehensive evaluations every 3-5 years. Harmony Dental Group offers three different types of exams at our office, including:
- Comprehensive Dental Exams: Conducted at each new patient appointment and approximately every 3-5 years thereafter, comprehensive exams provide an extensive evaluation of all oral tissues. They are primarily used for baseline references at future dental checkups and to screen for conditions that may not be visible during a brief periodic exam. A full-mouth series of X-rays are usually taken during this oral examination.
- Periodic Dental Exams: Periodic exams are usually offered every six months during your preventative care (cleaning) appointment. They reference the information from your comprehensive exam to check for new developments in your tooth or gum health.
- Limited/Emergency Exams: If you have a specific issue that needs to be checked or are experiencing a dental emergency, a limited exam will be performed. These oral exams are limited to specific teeth or areas of your mouth rather than your entire smile.
Why Dental Exams are Needed
Most dental health concerns are preventable or can be reversed when caught early enough. Routine dental exams allow our La Jolla dentist to continually assess changes in your oral anatomy, screening for abnormalities such as:
- Periodontal disease
- TMJ disorder
- Oral cancer
- Enamel wear
- Leaking or aging dental work
- Demineralization and tooth decay
- Breathing or sleep disorders
By assessing situations early, we can treat concerns while they are small. More conservative treatments help preserve healthy tooth structure, limit the extent of therapy required, and also help you save money.
If you need an dental checkup in La Jolla, Harmony Dental Group is here to provide you with the best preventative dental care.
What to Expect During a Comprehensive Dental Exam
If it’s your first appointment with our La Jolla dentist or you’re due for a comprehensive examination, the visit will usually take a bit longer than a typical six-month checkup. As we meticulously evaluate each aspect of your smile and health, you can expect us to review the following:
From medications you take to recent hospitalizations or treatments, it’s important for our dentist to be aware of any co-existing medical concerns. Please let us know of any new diagnosis you have received or risk factors, such as family medical conditions that may be genetic. We encourage you to bring a list of any prescriptions or supplements that you’re taking, as well as the contact information for your current medical providers.
What most people don’t realize is that there is a close oral-systemic connection between the health of your smile and your overall body. Conditions like periodontal disease can place you at a much higher risk of heart disease, stroke, pneumonia, diabetes, and even infertility (in both men and women.) By improving your oral health, you’ll also get to enjoy the benefits of better overall wellness.
From re-charting each of your existing restorations to measuring attachment levels around every tooth, we’ll have a new baseline measurement to screen for gum (periodontal) disease, tooth decay, and even TMJ function.
We will also evaluate each of your existing dental restorations for their integrity and performance. Since some restorations only last 5-10 years, a thorough examination is needed to prevent unnecessary complications or emergencies.
Updated Dental X-rays
A full mouth series (FMX) or panoramic X-ray is usually taken at every comprehensive dental exam. These images allow us to better assess your entire oral anatomy as opposed to just screening between back teeth for cavities. Since issues such as cysts, tumors, bone loss, and impacted wisdom teeth cannot be seen on traditional dental X-rays, these full-mouth images are extremely important. For patients scheduling a six-month checkup, we will usually arrange to take bitewing X-rays at every other visit.
Oral Cancer Screenings
Abnormal and precancerous oral tissues can be practically impossible to self-diagnose, especially in the earliest stages, where they can be successfully treated. Sores that don’t heal, abnormal tissue colors, or lumps may all indicate oral cancer. This dangerous disease is best treated when caught early. Risk factors include things like sun exposure, HPV, alcohol, and tobacco use. However, healthy individuals have also been known to develop oral cancer, which is why routine screenings are lifesaving.
Occlusion and TMJ Function
Each of your teeth and jaws is shaped to fit together in a certain manner. If they don’t close correctly, it can lead to issues like jaw pain, TMJ disorder, broken dental work, and abnormal tooth wear. We will assess your bite alignment to determine if any interceptive therapy is needed, such as braces or clear aligners.
Issues like bruxism (chronic teeth grinding and clenching) can also be intercepted with oral appliance therapy to prevent broken or worn teeth. We will also check to see how you swallow, as tongue movements may affect tooth alignment. Other warning signs, such as those associated with sleep apnea, will also be noted.
Treatment Planning or Referrals
Based on the findings during your dental exam, our La Jolla dentist will discuss our recommendations with you regarding any therapies or treatments that may be needed. If referrals to a separate specialty office are required, we will also provide contact information and communicate with those practices to ensure consistent care during the referral process.
Let the friendly and professional team at Harmony Dental Group help you have a healthy smile that will last a lifetime! Call us today to schedule your appointment!
Cost of Dental Exams
The fee for dental exams varies depending on the type of oral exam you need. Most dental evaluations are covered under your dental insurance policy if you carry one. The modest fee for a dental exam can help you reduce the price of dental treatment in the future when issues are identified as early as possible. Be sure to ask Harmony Dental Group about our current special offers on dental exams and X-rays, as we want to assist our patients with affordable care (especially when they do not carry dental insurance.)
La Jolla Dental Exams
If it’s been six months or longer since your last dental checkup, call Harmony Dental Group today to reserve your next oral exam with our dentist in La Jolla, CA.
Questions Answered on This Page
- Types of Dental Exams
- Why Dental Exams are Needed
- What to Expect During a Comprehensive Dental Exam
- Cost of Dental Exams
Definition of common dental exams terminology
Cavities: A cavity is a hole in a tooth that develops from tooth decay.
Tooth decay (dental caries): Tooth decay is the breakdown of teeth due to acids produced by bacteria.
Tooth Enamel: Enamel is the thin outer covering of the tooth. This tough shell is the hardest tissue in the human body.
Periodontal disease: Periodontitis also called gum disease, is a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue
TMJ: Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders (TMJ disorders) are problems that affect the chewing muscles and joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull.
The Harmony Dental Group Experience
- Highest Level of Dental Care
- Friendly and Caring Staff
- Affordable Financing Options
- Personalized Dental Services
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The first step to a healthy mouth and the smile of your dreams
About our Dentistry
- CA (License #12035). View License Information
- Insurance: We work with most insurance providers including all PPO’s and Medicare
- No Insurance? No problem call (858) 550-8000 for more information
- Financing Options: We offer a wide range of dental financing options
- We serve patients from the following counties: San Diego
- We serve patients from the following cities: La Jolla, Pacific Beach, Del Mar, San Diego, University City and Clairmont
- Have Questions? Please feel free to contact us at (858) 550-8000