The power of comprehensive dental exams: Protect your smile, overall health in Hunt Valley, MD

Dentists like Dr. Thomas Rhodes protect, maintain, and restore the health of your teeth and gums. But his expertise also extends to other structures and tissues connected to the oral cavity (mouth). During comprehensive exams at the office of Hunt Valley Dental, patients from throughout northeastern MD and the surrounding region will also be asked about changes to their health since the last time they visited us. Researchers have connected the dots between conditions such as diabetes and oral disorders, like periodontal (gum) disease. All infections, including those affecting the gums, can cause blood sugar to rise. So, diabetic patients with gum disease may have difficulty keeping their diabetes in check. 

Likewise, Dr. Rhodes and other dental professionals are often on the front lines of detecting conditions that transcend the mouth. Gum disease can also be a symptom of diabetes. We may also find dental symptoms during our exams, such as enamel erosion and sores inside the mouth, that can indicate reflux and GI disorders, respectively. Dr. Rhodes is also looking for anomalies such as: 

  • Lumps and bumps inside of the mouth, on the neck
  • White patches
  • Facial asymmetry 
  • Facial drooping 
  • Swelling of the cheeks, lips

He will evaluate potential pre-cancers and cancerous lesions by sight and by touch. Additionally, Dr. Rhodes has invested in specialized technologies to “see” what cannot be detected with the unaided eye. As with other conditions, it is vital that we promptly treat oral cancers before they have spread to other parts of the face and organs. 

We take this same high-tech approach to identify and address early-stage tooth decay and periodontal inflammation. Tools that may be used during your exam include digital radiography, which is associated with significantly less radiation exposure than standard, film-based X-rays. Your dentist can also pinpoint eroded or damaged areas with the DIAGNOdent™ laser cavity detection system. This pen-like device illuminates damaged areas. So, we can treat enamel erosion and early-stage decay before cavities grow so large that they require more invasive, dental restorative treatment. 

Exams at heart are examples of preventive dentistry. We can identify problems, be it pre-cancers, enamel erosion, or inflamed gums, early and before they affect your ability to eat, your well-being, and threaten your overall health. After all, your mouth does not exist in isolation from the rest of your body. The health of your organs and bodily systems depends on your ability to, for instance, regularly consume nutritious foods. 

Get into a healthy habit. Contact Hunt Valley Dental at (410) 771-6300 to schedule your appointment. 

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