The doctor will thoroughly check your teeth and gums for signs of cavities, infection, gingivitis, oral cancer, and periodontal disease.
During the exam, you will have either a periodontal assessment or x-rays taken. New patients will have both done in one visit so that we can get baseline information about the complete status of your dental health.
The periodontal assessment involves using a small measuring guide to determine if there is any bone loss around the teeth, and if so, the extent of the bone loss. The results and proposed treatment, if any, will be explained in detail to you during your exam.
The x-rays taken during a routine exam provide the doctor with an image of the spaces between your back teeth, spaces that cannot be seen by eyesight during an exam. These spaces are the most common places for cavities to develop in the mouth and thus, these x-rays are very important in assessing the health of your mouth. If the doctor sees any other suspicious teeth, he will most likely also request additional x-ray images of those specific teeth to check for infection or extent of decay.
Every few years, we will take a panoramic x-ray on you. This x-ray gives us a full view of all of your teeth, sinuses, jaws, and soft tissues in one picture. It helps us to diagnose problems with wisdom teeth and also helps us identify any abnormal pathology.
The exam also includes a through check of all tooth surfaces by the doctor, check for cavities, wear, breakdown, and defects, and propose any necessary treatment to restore your teeth to health.
The exam is also a time to discuss any concerns with the doctor that you may have about your teeth or mouth. Most of the time these concerns focus on replacement of missing teeth, teeth whitening, straightening the teeth, or anything else that you would like to accomplish with your teeth.
The last part of the exam is the oral cancer screening. The doctor will do a thorough check of all of the soft tissues in your mouth (cheeks, tongue, palate, tonsils, etc.). He will discuss any areas of concern with you, and if necessary, will refer you to a specialist if you require further treatment of any suspicious areas.