So that our dentist can provide the best dentistry to our patients, a comprehensive oral examination must be performed on each patient. To provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan for you, the dentist must know the nature of all pathology (disease) present in your mouth. If no disease is diagnosed during the initial exam, the dentist must still record the exact state of your oral health, so in the event that change occurs, the dentist would be able to properly diagnose based on your dental history. Recording the state of your mouth is a baseline so that dentist can accurately evaluate the progress and severity of any change which might occur.
At your first appointment, we spend some time getting to know you before reviewing your health and performing a detailed examination of your mouth. The mouth is a mirror reflecting the health of the body so our examination process starts with a check of the muscles of the head and neck, the jaw joint, as well as an oral cancer screening before we evaluate the teeth, gums and your bite. During the evaluation of the teeth we check for overall oral health and also individually for possible cracks, changes in color (which may indicate possible treatment needs), and their position relative to other teeth, lips, and tongue, to ensure they are functioning in the mouth in harmony with the other structures
The examination process consists of gathering as much information as possible from the mouth. This is accomplished by taking x-rays, to see the teeth, completing photographs of the structures in your mouth, checking every tooth and your gums for possible disease. Sometimes “as-needed” models of your teeth are also made to obtain a replica of your mouth for a more detailed study.
This information is shared with you and helps your dentist to work with you to see the potential areas that need to be addressed. Together you and your dentist will develop an appropriate treatment plan that best suits your needs. In combination with the comprehensive oral exam and completion of standard registration forms, your entire appointment should take approximately one hour. However, depending on the state of your mouth (how much disease or past restorative work is present) the initial exam may be longer.