Oral Health

Comprehensive Exams

The mouth is often considered a window to the rest of the body because many other illnesses first present themselves as changes within the mouth. As a result, a comprehensive oral exam is recommended each time you visit a new practice to serve as a benchmark of your overall health. 

During an examination, your dentist will perform a visual examination as well as a more detailed dental examination using one or more X-rays to detect:

  • New cavities
  • Weaknesses in previously placed crowns, fillings, and bridgework
  • Gum or bone recession
  • Tooth wear due to abnormal bite, bruxism, or TMJ

Your dentist will also perform a visual and digital examination of lymph nodes throughout the face and neck, looking for any abnormalities, pain or flexibility within the nodes that could be markers for disease. Likewise, a similar examination of your lips, gums, tongue, and other internal mouth surfaces will be conducted.   

The comprehensive dental exam is designed to set a baseline of your health and to catch any early signs of serious illness that may otherwise be undetected.  Your dentist will be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of the following illnesses which can be detected during a comprehensive oral evaluation:

  • Diabetes
  • Leukemia
  • Blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Oral cancer
  • Immune abnormalities
  • Sinus problems

With a comprehensive exam every six months, we can manage small dental problems before they grow into larger, more complicated issues. Keep up to date with thorough dental checkups at Bigelow Family Dentistry. Call us at 256-259-5955 to schedule an appointment.

Gentle Professional Cleanings

Everyone over the age of four or five should visit their dentist for professional teeth cleaning at least twice a year. It's a procedure for the removal of tartar that may develop even with careful brushing and flossing, especially in areas that are difficult to reach during routine toothbrushing. Professional cleaning includes an examination of your teeth and gums, tooth scaling (removal of plaque) and tooth polishing. It involves the use of various instruments or devices to loosen and remove deposits from the teeth. At Bigelow Family Dentistry, we provide comfortable, gentle hygiene cleanings. If we find a cause for concern, we may recommend a deep gum cleaning to remove tartar below the gum line, smooth out surfaces where plaque builds up and eliminate bacterial infection.

Important Reasons to Get Professional Cleanings

  • To detect possible health risks, such as oral cancer and gum disease
  • To prevent tooth loss
  • To maintain good physical health
  • To eliminate bad breath
  • To have a brighter, whiter smile

The Teeth Cleaning Process

  • Physical exam, using a small mirror to check teeth and gums for any signs of gingivitis or other concerns
  • Removal of plaque and tartar, using a scaler
  • Gritty toothpaste cleaning, using a high-powered electric brush
  • Expert flossing by the dental hygienist
  • Rinsing, to get rid of any debris
  • Applying fluoride treatment, to help fight against cavities for several months

Regular, professional teeth cleaning is vital to maintaining your oral health. Call Bigelow Family Dentistry at 256-259-5955 today.

Oral Cancer Screening

The dental community is the first line of defense in early detection of oral cancer. The goal of oral cancer screening is to detect mouth cancer or precancerous lesions that may lead to mouth cancer at an early stage — when cancer or lesions are easiest to remove and most likely to be cured. When found at the early stages of development, oral cancers have an 80-90% survival rate. Early detection is imperative!

Read more about Oral Cancer Screening