Dental exams are an important step in early detection and treatment of gum disease and tooth decay. For a first time visit, the dentist will perform a comprehensive dental examination that is very thorough and can include:
- A review of the patient’s medical history, especially drug and latex allergies
- A complete series of x-rays
- Oral cancer screening
- TMJ (temporomandibular joint) evaluation
- Orthodontic screening to check the positioning of teeth and jaw bite
- Complete gum examination and pocket measurements (periodontal examination)
- Complete examination of all teeth, crowns and fillings
- Evaluation of wisdom teeth
- Smile photographs and molds or impressions of your teeth, if necessary
During a regular checkup, the dentist will conduct a less extensive exam that will include many of the steps performed during an extensive exam, such as:
- Review of any changes in the patient’s medical history since last visit.
- Examination of tooth decay and damage using special instruments.
- X-ray of any teeth that show signs of decay or wear.
- Evaluation of gums for signs of periodontal disease.
- Exam of existing restorations.
- Screenings for oral cancer.
Your dentist or dental hygienist will also likely provide you with a quick reminder on proper home care and brushing techniques.