You expect your dentist to be concerned with your oral health. You will probably be surprised when your dentist stats to examine your head and neck during a routine dental visit. However, you should know that many oral or dental issues may show up in parts of your head and neck. Examples include:
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
The temporomandibular joints connect your jaw to the sides of your head. Jaw problems, which are dental issues, often exhibits itself as pain and restricted movement in the temporomandibular joints. Therefore, your dentist will examine these joints for signs of pain or restricted movement that may signify jaw problems.
Further symptoms of the condition include:
- tired feeling in the face
- difficulty in chewing food
- swelling on the side of the face
- pain and tenderness in the neck
- shoulder and around the ears among others.
Problems that may lead to painful jaw joint include teeth grinding and clenching, arthritis of the temporomandibular joint, stress, physical injury to the head and others. Therefore, an examination of this part of the head can reveal a lot about your dental health.
Bite problems are those that interfere with the alignment of your teeth. Examples include overbites, underbites, crossbites and overcrowded teeth. Bite problems increase your risk of teeth decay due to increased difficulty with oral hygiene. Apart from that, they also strain your jaws, leads to increased risk of tooth breakage and can also make it difficult for you to chew food normally.
So how can a dentist know that you have a bite problem by examining your head? Well, apart from a physical examination of your teeth, a dentist can also tell that you have a bite problem if you have abnormal/asymmetrical facial appearance, difficulty in chewing food and difficulties in speaking.
Another oral health issue that may be diagnosed via a head/neck examination is an oral infection. The dentist may examine your head to size up your lymph nodes. These nodes are located at the base your skull, under the jaw and chin, above the collarbone and around your ears.
If the lymph nodes are enlarged and tender when touched, then you may be dealing with an oral infection. Therefore, after examining your head and finding the enlarged nodes, the dentist may perform other oral exams to look for the infection.
As you can see, it is not just your oral cavity that can reveal the state of your oral health. Therefore, you should subject yourself to any examination that your dentist wishes to perform. Cooperate with the dentist during the examination, for example, by pointing out the painful areas so that the dentist may come up with an accurate diagnosis. If you're looking for a dentist in your area, visit Village Family Dental.