We firmly believe in the saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ – that’s why we recommend regular visits to the dentist and hygienist. Keeping on top of your oral health is vital to ensure that no problems develop.
It is usually a good idea for most patients to have a regular dental health check examination with scaling and polishing. How often will be determined at your examination; we have patients on three-monthly, six-monthly and annual recalls. Regular dental examinations alongside scaling and polishing are necessary to ensure that no new lesions or unexpected deterioration occur without early diagnosis. Regular scaling is essential to maintain satisfactory health of the gums and supporting bone and is often the most important part of regular monitoring.
If necessary during your dental examination, two small radiographs called bite-wing radiographs will be taken – they are of the back teeth on both sides. Bite-wing radiographs are taken to look for signs of new decay that may be starting underneath existing fillings or between teeth, which otherwise would not be detected until significant damage has occurred. Bite-wing radiographs are often routinely repeated every two years, but this will depend on a patient’s individual needs.
Occasionally and also only if necessary, additional small radiographs called periapical radiographs may be taken at your examination for diagnostic purposes. This is a small image usually taken to look at one tooth or one specific area, where more localised information is helpful.
An OPG radiograph is a pan-oral scanning dental x-ray of the upper and lower jaws and all teeth present erupted or un-erupted. It shows a two-dimensional view from ear to ear. An OPG radiograph is often taken to look at wisdom teeth or crowding of teeth in children, but it has many other diagnostic purposes and benefits.
Our OPG machine is a state-of-the-art digital OPG machine, which produces 300 multi-layer images per second during a single panoramic exposure; by means of a retro emitted electron beam created by the X-ray bombardment of the cadmium telluride screens. The technology was developed at the European atomic physics facility at Cerne in Switzerland and this practice is the first in the UK to install an OPG machine using this technology.
We will check for evidence of cancer by carrying out an oral soft tissue examination, including scoring your personal risk assessment. This routine screening is very important because 10% of all cancers occur in the mouth and half are fatal. Early recognition, referral and diagnosis can make a significant difference to the success of treatment. Unless there is reason for extra concern, we would normally review and repeat the cancer screening soft tissue examination every year.