How to recognise a good dentist?
Do you know that feeling? Do you go to your dentist regularly for preventive check-ups and after 5 minutes in the dentist's chair you leave with the idea that everything is fine? Do you feel that you are not given the attention your teeth deserve? Is there any chance of revealing all the potential problems with such a quick glance?
Not every check-up is the same
To the west of our border, this kind of 5-minute check-up would be unthinkable. In the Czech Republic, however, it still remains a relatively common practice. What exactly should be examined during the examination?
Tooth decay still remains the most common dental disease. It starts slowly and unobtrusively, it does not cause any problems for a long time and, for a long time, it cannot be diagnosed at a glance. When it is then so extensive that it starts to hurt or a visible "hole" forms in the tooth, it is often too late for a gentle treatment. Leaving aside the possibility of preventing caries from occurring at all, the doctor should focus on early detection at an early stage so that the patient will lose as little of the tooth as possible. Although modern fillings can reconstruct even large defects, it is still true that the smaller the impact, the greater the longevity we can expect for a given tooth.
X-ray every 6-24 months
The biggest help for early detection of dental caries is regular preventive X-rays. Not only can they detect early stages that can be treated effectively, but they can also see places inaccessible to routine examinations - the interdental spaces and under fillings, where caries occur very often. According to the doctor's assessment, these X-rays should be carried out every 6-24 months.
Examination of the gums
Equally importantly, the examination should include a detailed periodontal examination, which consists of an examination of the gums in several places around each tooth. This prevents periodontitis, which is the most common cause of tooth loss in middle and older age. It is caused by insufficient hygiene care of on part of the patient, which leads to inflammation of the gums and eventually affects the bone and the tooth-supporting apparatus. As the supporting apparatus and bone shrink, the tooth becomes less and less resistant to the loads it must withstand, and the process accelerates further. Periodontitis does not hurt so the patient often does not know about it, and, in the final stage, when the teeth begin to wobble, it is usually too late for successful treatment. A simple examination lasting approximately 10 minutes can detect the early stages of the disease, making it possible to start treatment in time.
Examination of the head and neck
The examination begins with the teeth and focuses mainly on them, but it should not end with them. Many other diseases can occur in the head and neck area and should be detected by a careful doctor. Especially in elderly patients and smokers, oncological examination of the head and neck should always be included, as it is the dentist who is the first to notice possible tumours. An equally important part is the examination of the mucous membranes, tongue, lips, salivary glands, oral base, lymph nodes and jaw joints.
Introduction to the results
In conclusion, everyone is primarily responsible for their own health. The role of the doctor cannot be overestimated or underestimated. They should be a partner who not only solves problems in time but also discusses why they arose with the patient and what can be done to prevent them in the future. At the end of the examination, the doctor should discuss the results of all examinations with the patient in a calm manner and explain what they result from in detail.