Comprehensive Dental Examination (Oral Cancer Exam) – Salisbury, MD

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Overview

If you want to stay healthy, you need to be proactive with dental problems by having conditions diagnosed and treated early before they become bigger issues. This is why it's important to schedule a dental exam for you and your family. While teeth are checked during a cleaning, a dental exam provides a much more in-depth analysis. Dental exams at Smiles! Dentistry by Dr. Joseph Heher in Salsbury, MD evaluate your overall oral health by checking for tooth decay and periodontal disease, as well as signs of oral cancer. As an experienced and highly trained dentist, Dr. Heher will determine your need for treatments and check your bite and jaw muscles for problems. A series of x-rays will also be taken as needed to gain a better insight into the health of your mouth. If you live in or near Salisbury, or the Delmarva Peninsula, schedule a dental exam for your family at Smiles! Dentistry by Dr. Joseph Heher.

Oral Cancer Screening

Dr. Heher performs oral cancer screenings on most patients who visit our office for their annual dental examination. An oral cancer screening using VELscope technology is a standard part of each new adult patient exam. VELscope is a state-of-the-art system that uses a stream of concentrated filtered light, which can identify suspicious tissue even below the surface of the skin that may require follow-up treatment. Oral cancer includes any abnormal group of cells in the mouth including the lips, gums, jawbone, salivary glands, palate, tongue, and throat. Every dental examination at Smiles! Dentistry by Dr. Joseph Heher includes a screening to look for early signs of oral cancer including sores, inflammation, swollen lumps, and lesions. Dr. Heher will also examine the tongue, palate and palpate the neck and jaw for signs of abnormalities. If any areas of concern are found, a biopsy may be performed or you will be referred to a specialist for further investigation and care.  Given the abnormally high rate of cancer on the Eastern Shore, most everyone should have at least an annual oral cancer examination.

Best Candidates

Salisbury, MD patients of all ages should schedule a dental exam every year. Many common conditions, like gum disease (the biggest cause of tooth loss), do not have noticeable symptoms. When concerns are identified early on, you are more likely to have more treatment options.

Children

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that children go to the dentist for an exam before their first birthday. Dr. Heher can help with problems like using pacifiers, teething, and baby bottle tooth decay. The team at Smiles! Dentistry can teach you how to care and clean your baby's mouth so they start healthy habits early — this will also help them throughout their life. Dental exams are also crucial for children as they get older and their mouth develops.

What To Expect

An adult dental examination will start with an overall evaluation of your medical and dental history, your gums, teeth, tongue, throat, the roof of your mouth, inside your cheeks, and other oral checkpoints. This includes looking for signs of oral cancer in your mouth. Dr. Heher or a member of his team will take digital x-rays and screen for abnormal tissue in the gums that could be due to periodontal disease. Dr. Heher will evaluate your head, neck, and jaw, including your temporomandibular joints (TMJ), and bite. He will then discuss any concerns found and how to best address them. Additionally, Dr. Heher will discuss any health conditions you have, prescriptions you may be taking, and how they might impact your oral health by causing dry mouth and tooth decay. Finally, he will examine any dental prostheses you have, such as bridges and dentures, to check for fit and wear.

Follow-Up

When to schedule your next appointment will depend on the status of your oral health. If Dr. Heher does not identify any problems, then the only follow-up would be to continue a home oral care routine including brushing and flossing at least once, preferably twice a day, along with semi-annual cleanings and dental exams at Smiles! Dentistry by Dr. Joseph Heher. If Dr. Heher does note conditions that need to be treated, options will be discussed and scheduled. Dr. Heher prefers conservative therapies and will only recommend options that are in your best interest. He also works to help you gain a comprehensive understanding of your own dental health so that you can make informed decisions when it comes to treatment.

Insurance Coverage

Since a dental exam is vital to your dental health, it is usually covered by dental insurance. Our office will contact your insurance company to help you better understand your coverage and any out-of-pocket costs. If you do not have dental insurance, Smiles! Dentistry by Dr. Joseph Heher accepts many payment options including medical financing. Dr. Heher works with his patients to help them afford good oral health.

Annual Dental Exams

Optimal oral health means you don't just go to the dentist only when something goes wrong. You have to be proactive with preventive care. It can save your teeth and gums, as well as a significant amount of time and money. We recommend visiting Smiles! Dentistry by Dr. Joseph Heher at least annually, preferably semi-annually for a dental examination. Doing so will enable you to stay on top of dental problems by catching them early. We work hard to make dental examinations a positive experience for you so you'll enjoy coming back. Contact our office in Salisbury, MD to schedule your exam today.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.