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  • Dr. Katherine Bolterman

Are you gearing up for summer?

As you and your family are gearing up for summer ask yourself, your significant other and kids if there are any teeth or mouth or jaw issues. Are you going to a dentist regularly to get cleaned and checked?

What do Dentists and Hygienists look for at an Exam? We look for anything in the mouth and facial region that is abnormal, unhealthy and evaluate risk. Decay and tooth quality, gum disease, infection, tumors, cysts, salivary gland deficiency, oral cancer, bite concerns, joint issues, speech and oral habits, diet and overall health that may affect your oral health are just some the items we can evaluate and discuss.

An exam every 6 month is a great way to evaluate these areas.

There is more research available about the importance of early detection for oral cancer and proof that HPV-16 virus, transmitted by shared saliva (kissing, utensils, etc.), is one of the causes. The vaccine is something to consider through your MD. It is recommended that 11-12 year old boys are girls have a series of 2 vaccines to help protect against this. Many people will be exposed to HPV-16 but will remain clear if they have a healthy immune system. In 2018 the American Cancer Society reported over 10,000 deaths due to oral cancer. Don’t be a statistic. Early detection is still the best prevention.

Tongue thrust to the front or side when talking or swallowing can cause tooth movement, speech concerns and/or bone loss. When we evaluate your bite, you may be given options to improve these areas through orthodontics, tongue therapy (different from speech therapy) or restorative treatments.

Cavities cans cause major tooth damage even without pain. Most people associate cavities with pain. The decay area will grow big enough to need a filling the longer it is left untreated, even though it may not bother you. At this point the decay is not reversible with good brushing and flossing. A visual exam and X-rays are the best ways to see these decay areas and catch them early. Pain usually occurs when the decay is near, or entered into, the nerve of the tooth. Many of these situations require a root canal treatment or extraction.

Be safe this summer and healthy for the rest of your life!

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