Once your teeth are all nice and clean, your dentist will conduct an examination. In the past, dentists always used a metal probe and angled mirror, but now we use many different types of equipment. The goal is the same: we are looking for any signs of tooth decay. Your dentist will also check for any issues with your gums like deep pockets, redness, and inflammation.
Your dental professional will also look for signs of temporomandibular joint disorder by taking a close look at your upper and lower jaw. He/she will take a close look at the soft tissues in your mouth, palate, lymph glands, and neck looking for signs of oral cancer. One person dies from oral cancer every hour in the U.S., yet it is completely curable when detected early. When in doubt, ask your dentist if he/she looks for signs of oral cancer during examinations. You can also ask your dentist for tips on how to perform monthly oral cancer screens on your own at home.
During the examination, your dentist might end up touching your palate – which can trigger your gag reflex. Keep that in mind so that you can keep it under control. If you have a strong gag reflex, let us know and we can suggest strategies to combat it.