DOWNTOWN DENTAL GROUP
161 W. Wisconsin Avenue
Suite 5036
Milwaukee, WI 53203
414.278.6070
GRANT PARK DENTAL
1333 College Avenue
Suite C
South Milwaukee, WI 53172
414.764.6070

During a dental exam, we will also ask about any health problems you have or medications you're taking and discuss how they might affect your oral health. If you have diabetes, for example, you have a higher risk of gum disease. Any medication that contributes to dry mouth can increase your risk of tooth decay. Many different medical problems can be a factor in your oral health.

Dental exams might also include counseling about diet, smoking and other lifestyle factors that can affect oral health.

What should I expect during my exam appointment?
During a dental exam, the dentist or hygienist will:

  • Evaluate your overall health and oral hygiene
  • Evaluate your risk of tooth decay, root decay and gum or bone disease
  • Evaluate your need for tooth restoration or tooth replacement
  • Check your bite and jaw for problems
  • Remove any stains or deposits on your teeth
  • Demonstrate proper cleaning techniques for your teeth or dentures
  • Assess how much fluoride you're getting through your diet and use of oral hygiene products
  • Take dental X-rays or, if necessary, do other diagnostic procedures
  • Blood pressure reading

PROGRESS OF TOOTH DECAY

Digital X-Rays

Oral Cancer Screening

A dental X-ray allows the dentist to see detailed images of specific sections of your mouth. Traditional X-ray film is developed in a darkroom, but a newer technique allows X-ray images to be sent to a computer and viewed on a screen. These are called digital X-rays and we use them in our practice. There are several benefits to taking digital X-rays, including lesser amounts of radiation exposure for patients, ability to zoom in or manipulate an image for better diagnosis and ability to email radiographs to specialists if needed.

During your dental exam, Dr. Costello will look for any signs of oral cancer. He will feel the area under your jaw, the sides of your neck and jaw, and the insides of your lips and cheeks, as well as examine your tongue and the roof and floor of your mouth. If any abnormalities are seen, you may be referred to an oral surgeon for biopsy of the tissue. Sometimes even insignificant looking markings may be early signs of disease.

Early decay may not be easy for the patient to notice.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF X-RAYS

SIGNS OF CANCER

Decay under the surface may be larger than it looks from the outside.

If not treated, tooth decay can cause an abscess and can lead to serious infections.

Bitewing - This type of X-ray allows the dentist to see the crowns of the upper and lower teeth. During a bitewing X-ray, you'll bite down on the X-ray film holder while the images are being taken. We take these X-rays every 1-2 years.

Periapical - This type of X-ray allows the dentist to see the entire tooth and the surrounding bone. Generally these are taken when a patient presents with a problem, helping us to make a diagnosis.

Panoramic - This type of X-ray gives the dentist a broad view of the entire mouth. As a general rule, these X-rays are taken every five years, although during adolescence they may be taken more frequently to monitor the need for orthodontics and to check the eruption of wisdom teeth.

Cancer on the lip

Cancer on the tongue

Leukopiakia (which can turn into cancer) inside the cheek