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Comprehensive Exams and Professional Cleanings

The Comprehensive Examination is a process in which Dr. Austin takes necessary records to provide a thorough diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment plan. This will include:

Cavity Exam: During this visual examination, Dr. Austin locates areas of decay on chewing surfaces and between teeth. Dr. Austin uses both a clinical exam and x-ray (radiographic) findings to determine the most conservative treatment plan for your oral needs.

Gum/Periodontal Examination: Gum disease is oftentimes a silent disease but happens to be the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States. The key signs that you may have gum disease are: bleeding gums, bad breath, swollen and tender gums, gums that are red in color instead of pink, and gums that are sliding or “receeding” down away from the neck of the tooth which causes root exposure. If you have one or more of these signs, you will need an immediate appointment for an evaluation and treatment. Our staff will examine your gum tissues to insure that gum disease is detected in its early stages.

The type of treatment that will be needed will be determined after we perform a full gum evaluation by way of measuring your gums with a special measuring device that acts like a ruler called a probe. Based on these measurements and the bone levels that we can see on the x-rays, we will then be able to advise you if you need a “basic cleaning” known as a prophylaxis or a “deep cleaning” known as scaling and root planning. If after your gum evaluation we determine that you have advanced gum disease, a deep cleaning will be required to treat your gum disease instead of a basic cleaning.

Because the presence of gum disease is a significant consideration in determining the outcome of other dental procedures (especially cosmetic dental treatment) and can affect your overall health, we take the health of your gum and bone tissue very seriously. If you have advanced gum disease, we may recommend ARESTIN®, a special antibiotic used to treat the gums. ARESTIN® is placed right underneath the gums at the site of the gum infection to help kill the bacteria. We also carry the necessary home care products such as electric toothbrushes and WaterPik flossers, to help you maintain optimum oral health between dental visits.

Oral Cancer Screening: According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, approximately 40,000 people in the US will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2012. This includes those cancers that occur in the mouth itself, in the very back of the mouth known as the oropharynx, and on the exterior lip of the mouth. It will cause over 8,000 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day.

This is the fifth year in a row in which there has been an increase in the rate of occurrence of oral cancers. There are two distinct pathways by which most people come to oral cancer. One is through the use of tobacco and alcohol, a long term historic problem and cause, and the other is through exposure to the HPV-16 virus (human papilloma virus version 16), a newly identified etiology, and the same one which is responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women. A small percentage of people (under 7 %) do get oral cancers from no currently identified cause. It is currently believed that these are likely related to some genetic predisposition. Common signs and symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • A sore or lesion in the mouth that does not heal within two weeks.
  • A lump or thickening in the cheek.
  • A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or lining of the mouth.
  • A sore throat or a feeling that something is caught in the throat.
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing.
  • Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue.
  • Numbness of the tongue or other area of the mouth.
  • Swelling of the jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable.
  • Chronic hoarseness.

These symptoms may be caused by other, less serious problems, but they also indicate the possible presence of oral cancer. At NYC Cosmetic and General Dentistry, we routinely perform visual examinations of all the tissues in your mouth. Your clinician will check the mouth for white patches, red patches, ulcerations, lumps, loose teeth, and review your dental x-rays for abnormalities.

Be sure to tell your clinician if you have been a tobacco user in any form. Tobacco use is implicated in many cases of oral cancer. After the physical examination of your mouth, if your clinician finds any areas that are suspicious, a biopsy will be recommended. This is simply swabbing a small portion of the suspicious tissue for examination under a microscope by a laboratory to confirm if the tissues of the mouth are cancerous.

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