Oral Health – 6 Screenings [BLOG]

Your Immune System is why…

The 6 screenings at Aesthetic Dentistry of Georgetown.

It goes without saying we have been given a wakeup call with the COVID-19 infections.  Health and happiness are central to our quality of life and when those are threatened we will do just about anything to regain it.  The planet closed its doors because of the unknown impact of this new virus and the damage it seemed to be doing.  As we learn more about how this disease is actually working, there is one huge take-home message we all need to take to heart!

Nothing beats a healthy immune system and there are several ways you can protect and support yours.  Your health is important to us and that’s why we incorporated these 6 routine health screenings years ago.  Although we all love a pretty smile, there is so much more to keeping those routine visits!

The 6 Screenings at Aesthetic Dentistry of Georgetown are designed to protect your health and highlight areas that could put you at risk.  In order, the screenings are:

  1. Health History and Risk Assessment Screening
  2. Head & Neck Cancer Screening of the hard and soft tissues
  3. Bite Screening
  4. Airway Screening
  5. Tooth Screening
  6. Periodontal Screening

The first one to consider is the Risk Assessment.  In a dental office, we often find that patients are on multiple competing medication or are on medications for issues that may be a symptom of other, undiagnosed issues.  Dentistry is unique as we get to see people at least twice a year from a preventive standpoint.  Several times a week we help people to uncover significant health risks and get to point them in toward proper care.  In the body, the most dangerous threat to your immune system is unmanaged or uncontrolled disease.  Infections, system breakdowns, and/or cancers all lead to incredible physiologic stress and directly impacts your immune system.

The second screening is the Oral Cancer Screening.  Like with every cancer in the body, when your system is busy fighting off oral cancer, it cannot battle off other infections as well.  Unfortunately one person dies of oral cancer every hour of every day in the United States alone.  Early detection is absolutely essential as the prognosis drops dramatically as the cancer matures, and a third of people with oral cancer never even smoked!  Not doubt the cancer takes a toll on our immune system, but there are obviously other reasons to catch the cancers early!

Screening number three is the Bite Screening.  Our bodies are designed to work within a specific range and will fight to correct issues that prevent that proper function.  Unfortunately, with teeth, our body will try to fix improper alignment and grind away the interferences.  In order to protect the muscles that control our bite, the teeth end up getting destroyed by bruxing or grinding and are often broken or lost.  This additional physical stress and trauma to the system also has a negative impact on our stress management, which makes us more susceptible to infections. 

The fourth screening is your Airway Screening.  By design, you should breathe through your nose.  If your nose happens to be blocked from a structural issue or from an infection or allergy, then you are forced to breathe through your mouth.   The floor of your nose actually is the roof of your mouth, and one of those structural issues happens to be the development of your jawbones and mouth.  This screening keys in on those sorts of issues because there is nothing as important as your airway.  Chronic breathing issues are a root cause of many things like heart disease and diabetes and a lowered immune response.  

  The fifth screening we do is the one most dental offices also do.  This is the Tooth Screening.  One of the things we screen for is bacterial infection in your teeth.  What we know about these bacterial infections (also called cavities) are chronic and pathologic and the sooner they are removed, the sooner your body won’t have to fight the war on multiple fronts.  The other issue is tooth infections are communicable between teeth and areas of your mouth as well as other members of your family.

The last screening we do is the Periodontal Screening.  Periodontal disease is also a bacterial infection, and unfortunately will not resolve without professional help.  Chronic low-grade infections like periodontal disease are slowly progressing in terms of tooth loss, but the body fights it everywhere.  This happens through an inflammatory response and the chronic inflammation drops your immune system response.  

At Aesthetic Dentistry of Georgetown, your health and quality of life are central to how we develop the care we offer.  Our goal is to help you understand your oral health and make excellent choices for yourself with that information.  You aren’t just a set of teeth and the mouth isn’t separate from the rest of your health and wellness.  Rest assured that we will continue to focus on giving you the best options available so that you can smile knowing your teeth aren’t just a pretty accessory, but are a vital part of your health! 

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