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Dental Exam
Portland, Oregon


A child smiling after receiving a dental exam at Great Grins for KIDS - Portland in Portland, ORJust about everybody has at least heard of a dental cleaning, but some may not be able to tell you what dental exams are. A dental exam is basically a checkup of your teeth and gums. This is important to protect and preserve your and your child's oral health, as dental issues can grow problematic and painful if not treated soon. Here at Great Grins for KIDS - Portland, we use these exams to help locate and identify tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health threats early before taking care of them while they’re easier to treat.

This also allows us the opportunity to educate our patients about how to maintain their dental hygiene and practice proper habits of preventive dentistry. If you or your child are due for a dental checkup and wish to schedule an exam or ask any questions, please feel free to call us at (971) 470-0054 today.

When Should My Child Get a Dental Exam?


Most children should have a dental exam done at least every six months. Signs that your child may need multiple subsequent visits include swollen, bleeding gums (known as gingivitis) or gum disease. A minority of children suffering from gum disease may schedule visits three or four times a year. More frequent appointments can also help avoid a more advanced form of gum disease called periodontitis, which can lead to infection and losing teeth.

Infants should undergo their first oral appointment within six months of their first tooth erupting (12 months of age). Beyond that, they should have another exam scheduled every six months or in accordance with the recommendation of Dr. Fariba Mutschler or Dr. Mark Mutschler. Your child may also have to visit more often if Dr. Fariba Mutschler or Dr. Mark Mutschler find an issue with oral health and growth such as problems with tooth development.

Who Performs a Dental Exam?


Oral exams are typically performed by both a dentist (doctor specifically trained to care for teeth and gums) and a dental hygienist (healthcare professional trained to clean teeth and help educate patients on healthy dental habits) from our team.

How Does a Dental Exam Work?



The steps to this procedure involve the early preparations, exam, and cleaning. These include:

•  Cleaning by one of our hygienists.
•  X-ray, during certain appointments. A thick covering known as a lead apron is placed over the patient’s chest. They may receive an added covering for their neck to protect their thyroid gland. Both of these keep your child's body safe from any radiation. Oral x-rays generally have the patient bite down on a small piece of plastic before a scanner outside their mouth takes a picture. Some types of x-rays require the patient to repeat this process multiple times, biting down in different areas of the mouth as instructed. Bitewing x-rays are more common, being used to check for cavities or other tooth abnormalities, whereas a full mouth series x-ray may be taken once every few years to assess your child's overall health.
•  The patient is then seated in a large chair with a bright overhead lamp to shed light on their entire mouth, so no areas are missed. Not to worry though, as safety glasses are provided when necessary.
•  The cleaning begins. Using small dental tools, we carefully scrape your child's teeth to remove plaque and tartar.
•  The teeth are flossed, then brushed using an advanced electric toothbrush.
•  Fluoride gel or foam may be applied to the teeth (Fluoride is a mineral that prevents tooth decay). This treatment is given more often to children than adults.
•  We may leave your child with a few tips on how to better care for their dental health if we see areas with room for improvement, including proper brushing and flossing techniques.
•  Dr. Fariba Mutschler or Dr. Mark Mutschler will provide a final checkup. Your child's x-rays will be reviewed, if they've had them, for cavities or other abnormalities. Your teeth and gums will be looked at to confirm whether they are healthy. Your child's bite will be tested to see if their top and bottom teeth fit together normally. Lastly, the underside of the jaw, sides of the tongue, inside of their lips, and roof of the mouth are checked for oral cancer. Children often get an additional checkup to make sure their teeth are developing properly.


Should My Child Do Anything to Prepare for a Dental Exam?


Depending on whether your child has certain health conditions, they may need to take antibiotics before the exam. Such conditions include heart issues, immune system disorders, and recent surgery. If you’re unsure about whether your child should take antibiotics, please talk to us beforehand.

Parents should also be aware that some children will feel anxious about visiting the dentist. If you or your child should feel nervous or stressed, this can also be facilitated by speaking with us ahead of time. That way, we’ll have a better chance of making the patient feel more relaxed and comfortable during the exam.

Risks to a Dental Exam


Dental exams usually carry very little risk. Your child may experience some discomfort during the cleaning, but very rarely is pain felt. A topical anesthetic can also be given before the cleaning to alleviate any pain.
My daughter was a little nervous to have her dental work done but everyone in the office was super friendly and very reassuring and that helped her nervousness go away. Thanks for the excellent dental experience. ~ Lilyana G.


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