When you visit the dentist, they might ask you to open your mouth and say ah repeatedly while taking pictures of your teeth and gums using an intraoral camera.
You might think this unusual experience is merely for fun, but dental charting also has many practical applications.
Charting is one of the most important things your dentist does to help keep your teeth healthy and strong, but what exactly does it mean, and how does it affect your life? Here’s what you need to know about charting and its importance to your dental health.
What Is Dental Charting?
A dental chart is a plot of your teeth. A dentist or hygienist will use a chart to track a patient’s history. This includes treatment notes, insurance information, X-rays, diagnosis codes, and more.
Dental charts can be prepared in many ways, but you’ll most commonly find them laid out as an x-y plot. In these plots, one axis (the x-axis) indicates time. The other (the y-axis) displays measurements of some aspect of your teeth. This can include bite force or amount of plaque on each tooth surface.
Why Is Periodontal Charting Important?
The first thing to know about dental charting is that it’s a lot more than simply keeping track of what appointments you have and when. If it were, there wouldn’t be much point in doing it.
The benefits of charting are twofold. First, it allows dentists to keep tabs on how well your periodontal health is (or isn’t) doing over time. Second, it provides you with an insight into your dental health. You may be surprised by some of the findings!
Dental charting might be something you want to think about whether or not you need regular checkups. Even if nothing ever seems wrong with your teeth, everyone can benefit from taking an annual peek at their dentist’s notes.
What Is Expected During Periodontal Charting?
During regular dental checkups, your dentist might take X-rays or photographs of your teeth, mouth, and gums. These pictures are then charted by making notations about certain areas on a patient chart.
The information obtained determines whether any irregularities should be monitored or corrected with additional treatment. While it can sometimes seem like dentists spend an exorbitant amount of time pouring over charts, they’re just looking out for you—and your teeth!
What Does Periodontal Charting Mean for You?
Many people don’t realize just how important a healthy mouth is to their overall health. By visiting your dentist regularly, you can easily check for any problems with your teeth or gums. And there are plenty of dental hygiene products out there that can help reduce these risks.
However, when it comes to periodontal charting, at-home products aren’t as effective (seeing as it is most unlikely that you have professional dental equipment). So, it’s smart to visit your dentist. Foresight and early detection always make a difference. Make sure you stay on top of your dental situation and avoid potentially unpleasant situations later on.