Routine dental visits aid in the prevention, early detection, and treatment of tooth decay, oral soft tissue disease, and periodontal diseases. A complete dental exam should include the following.
A soft tissue examination. The purpose of the soft tissue examination is to spot precancerous and cancerous changes in the oral tissues. If detected at an early stage, oral cancer can be successfully treated. A thorough soft tissue examination should include a visual inspection and finger exploration of the tongue, floor of the mouth, palate, salivary glands, insides of the cheek, and back of the throat. The tongue should be moved to allow for the inspection of its sides and base. The face, head, and neck should also be examined, and any enlarged lymph nodes identified.
A screening and examination for periodontal (gum) diseases. Using a periodontal probe, your dentist or hygienist will measure the band of gum tissue that surrounds the tooth. Gum disease is easiest to treat when detected during the early stages.