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Whether you're visiting a new dentist or just back for your six-month checkup, consider asking about these important tests.
  • X-rays
    Patients should get a complete set of X-rays every three to five years. During regular checkups—which should be scheduled every six months to a year—X-rays should be taken of individual teeth that may have cracks or cavities. Pregnant women should not have X-rays.
  • Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Syndrome
    Clenching, grinding or bad alignment of teeth can cause this disorder. Even if you don't notice symptoms (headaches, jaw pain), your dentist should look at your bite and feel your jaw to ensure there is no stress to the joints.
  • Periodontal Exam
    Have your gums receded? Your dentist should take measurements annually around each tooth to detect any gum disease.
  • Oral Cancer
    The inside of your mouth and the glands in your neck area should be checked each year.
  • Oral Surgery
    Anytime you receive general anesthesia, an oral surgeon, a surgical assistant and another assistant should be on hand to monitor your vital signs using an EKG, a blood pressure monitor and a pulse oximeter. Either the oral surgeon must be licensed in anesthesiology by the state dental board (the license should be displayed in the office) or there must be an anesthesiologist present.
To whiten, or not to white—that is the question!

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