Exams and Screenings
Dr. Richard Whalen recommends that you have a comprehensive oral exam every visit.
The exam includes:
- Oral Cancer Screening - with VELscope exam once a year
- Digital X-Rays - as prescribed by the Doctor
- DIAGNOdent Exam
- Thorough Cleaning/Hygiene Treatment
- Fluoride Treatment - at every visit
- Health Assessment Risk
Oral Cancer Screening
Dr. Whalen takes oral cancer screening very seriously. Statistics show that oral cancer strikes an estimated 34,000 Americans each year. To help protect his patients from the dangers of this disease, Dr. Whalen conducts an oral cancer screening once a year with VELscope technology. This exam is painless, quick and very thorough.
The VELscope is a hand-held device that uses a blue light to detect any abnormal tissue in your mouth. As it passes over oral tissue, VELscope technology looks deep within the tissue to where oral cancer and its precursors begin. The VELscope System creates a reaction that makes the tissue "fluoresce." Any abnormal tissue becomes easily identifiable, even at its earliest stage. If Dr. Whalen detects any abnormal tissue, he will determine an appropriate course of action.
No more wasting time for film to develop; digital X-rays produce quick, precise, detailed images of your teeth on the in-office computer monitor so we can see what's going on in your mouth immediately. Not only do these X-rays give us a clearer look at your oral health, they also significantly reduce your exposure time to radiation.
Digital Panographic X-Rays
For people who have trouble with discomfort or gagging with X-rays, the panographic (pan) X-ray is a wonderful alternative. With the pan, the x-ray is not taken with any film or device that is placed in your mouth. The machine stays outside of your mouth and moves around your head in a half-circle, taking an image of your entire oral cavity.
While this type of X-ray does not give us as clear a diagnostic image as the digital X-ray, it does provide a clear overview of your entire mouth. This image allows us to evaluate for dental restorations, check the position of your wisdom teeth, and look for other problems such as abscesses, signs of sinus problems, and receding bone levels caused by periodontal disease.
This procedure is very similar to a conventional x-ray but shows a more detailed, 3-dimensional cross section of the area being scanned. Used together with digital X-rays and the panographic X-rays, CT scans deliver information for accurate diagnosis and safe and efficient treatment planning. For dental implants, the use of a CT scan is fast becoming the standard of care as it is much more accurate than traditional x-rays.
The DIAGNOdent laser is changing the way dentists detect cavities and decay. This laser is so sensitive and so accurate it can detect even the smallest cavities, even before they're visible on traditional X-rays. That means that we can correct cavities while they're small, with conservative treatments that protect more of your natural tooth structure. And when problems are smaller, they are easier, more comfortable and more affordable to fix.
Fluoride treatment isn't just for kids. In fact, it's so important, Dr. Whalen recommends you have one at every visit.
Why is fluoride so important?
Fluoride is a natural mineral that protects and strengthens the teeth against cavities and decay; it's in your toothpaste and often in your water.
The topical application of fluoride has been shown to significantly reduce your risk for getting tooth decay, and the in-office fluoride varnish will last long after your dental appointment.
Health Assessment Risk
Following your screenings, X-rays, cleaning and fluoride treatment, Dr. Whalen will have a very clear picture of your oral health. With all the information he has gathered, he will then assess how the health and condition of your mouth may affect your whole body health
From periodontal disease that can lead to an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, complications in diabetes and other serious health conditions to TMJ that can cause headaches, facial pain and more, Dr. Whalen can apprise you of any health risks caused by your oral health. He will also offer treatment suggestions to avoid those risks.