In comprehensive dentistry, the dentist looks at your mouth as a whole, instead of just treating individual tooth problems. Oral health is not restricted to just the teeth and gums. It also includes soft tissues around the teeth, tongue, soft tissues of the cheek region, muscles around the oral cavity, temporomandibular joint (TMJ), etc. These muscles and joints play an important role in your bite (occlusion). Hence it is important to get a comprehensive dental examination done. Comprehensive dental examination often reveals problems with bite (occlusion).
What are the various procedures involved in comprehensive dental care?
- Scaling: It is the professional cleaning of teeth to remove the tartar deposits and plaque from the surface of the teeth. Scaling can be used as either a preventive measure against periodontal disease or as a stand-alone treatment. Some reasons for seeking scaling are as follows:
- Disease prevention: The bacteria that are present in periodontal infection can travel to other parts of the body through the bloodstream. Scaling stops the progression of periodontal infection and prevents the spread of infection.
- Tooth protection: In gingival diseases, the body will respond with a chronic inflammatory response which may destroy the gingival tissues and bone. This process can eventually result in tooth loss and bone loss. Scaling could stop the progression of the periodontal disease and provide tooth protection.
- Aesthetic reasons: Scaling helps in removing plaque and stains present on the teeth and below the gum line, thus improving the aesthetics.
- Reduction of bad breath: Halitosis (bad breath) is one of the most common signs of gums disease. The bad odor is caused by the food particles and microorganisms present in the oral cavity. Scaling eliminates the odor causing particles from the oral cavity, thus reducing bad breath.
- Oral cancer screening
The doctor checks the tongue, inner part of the mouth, tonsils thoroughly examining for white patches or red patches. The lymph nodes are examined for any signs of infections or enlargement. The roof of the mouth or palate is checked thoroughly for lumps or patches.