Article #3: How To Conduct A Dental Self-Examination
- Start when relaxed and you have at least one hour of free time. Sit at a table that offers a solid arm rest. If you can, purchase a small dental mirror at a drugstore, or use me smallest face mirror that you have. A flashlight or bright overhead light will help you in this examination.
- Begin your examination with the last tooth on your left side on the lower jaw. Gently pull your cheek away from the back teeth, and with the other hand shine a light on your back teeth. Use the mirror to see the teeth reflected in it. Now starling with this lower left tooth, look for the following things:
- Dental Checklist:
- Is the tooth broken or does it have a filling?
- Is there a noticeable hole, or a small black spot on the tooth? (This indicates a cavity.) Be sure and look on the back of the tooth as well as between the teeth.
- Is the tooth stained?
- Is there tartar or heavy yellow buildup on the teeth?
- Is the tooth crooked?
- Is the tooth chipped, cracked, or is there an old filling that is cracked or missing?
- Go slowly all around the mouth, top and bottom, and look at each tooth individually—front, back and in between. For many people, this will be the first time in their lives that they have actually seen the inside of the mouth. Go slowly, and inspect each tooth carefully and critically.
- Specifically, you should be able to determine the following from this self-examination:
- Hew many teeth do you have? With all four wisdom teeth, you should have 32. People without wisdom teeth will have 28 teeth. If you have any missing teeth, see if the teeth to the side of the gap are slanted inward.
- Look at the spaces between the teeth. If there are gaps or crooked teeth, then be sure that you are careful about removing food panicles that can easily get wedged in these areas.
- See if your teeth are stained. Teeth do become more yellow with ago simply because the white enamel of the teeth is gradually worn away by age and abrasive toothpastes. Yellow teeth are not necessarily bad. but you may want to check with a dentist. You may see brown stains on the teeth. This usually indicates smoking. Other stains and colors may appear. If the color of a tooth has changed rapidly, then it may indicate a more serious dental problem.
- Notice if there Is some son of sticky or hard build up around the teeth, particularly at the bottom. This pasty stuff is called tartar and it may eventually harden into a substance called calculus which is sharp and rough. You may want to have your teeth professionally cleaned to remove this buildup. After a cleaning, you should never need another one if you follow a raw diet.
- If you see any holes or black “pinpoints” on the teeth, then you have a cavity. If the tooth is sensitive at all, you may want to have it filled with a harmless substance (do not use silver fillings!). To test for cavity sensitivity, hold ice-colt1 water in the mouth. If you feel any pain, you have a potential cavity, or perhaps an old or cracked filling.
- The final report of your examination should be around the gums of the teeth themselves. Are the gums red, swollen, or puffy? They shouldn’t be. Do they bleed after brushing? They shouldn’t. Healthy gums are a pleasant pink, and they cover the base of the tooth without any receding.
Now your self-examination is over. What’s next? If you are currently experiencing dental pain or discomfort, then you may need professional help. If your teeth appear fine and you are not suffering, then a healthy diet and lifestyle should keep your teeth fit for the rest of your life.