The Complete Oral Exam is critical to your ongoing oral health. It consists, in part, of the Dentist looking inside your mouth for things that can affect your oral – and your overall – health. The Complete Oral Exam can catch problems early before you see or feel them and when they are much easier and less expensive to treat. Here is some of what your Dentist and Dental Hygienist will be looking for during your Complete Oral Exam:
- Damaged, missing, or decayed teeth
- Early signs of cavities
- Condition of your gums, such as periodontal pockets, inflammation, or other signs of gum disease (which can lead to tooth loss and bone loss)
- To see how previous dental work such as root canals, fillings and crowns are holding up
- Early signs of mouth or throat cancer, such as white lesions or blocked salivary glands
- Other suspicious growths or cysts
- Position of your teeth (e.g. spacing, bite)
- Signs that you clench or grind your teeth (a treatable problem that can cause headache or sore jaw, and can, if serious, lead to hearing loss and tooth loss)
- The overall health and function of your temporomandibular joint (which joins the jaw to the skull)
- The overall condition of the bones in your face, jaw and around your mouth
As well as the visual inspection of your mouth, the Complete Oral Exam will also include:
- A complete medical history so the dentist will know about any health conditions that may affect the success of dental treatments or procedures and that may be associated with oral health problems
- An examination of your neck area, with the dentist feeling the glands and lymph nodes for possible signs of inflammation that could indicate general health problems.
- Dental x-rays, if necessary. These can show such problems as cavities under existing fillings, hairline fractures, impacted wisdom teeth, decay under your gum line and bone loss caused by gum disease.
- Recommendations for your oral hygiene home care
- A customized treatment plan for any dental work you require
A Complete Oral Exam should be performed by your dentist and dental hygienist every three to five years depending on your oral health. All new patients to Dentistry on Sinclair will have a Complete Oral Exam at their first visit and then every three to five years after depending on individual need.