The first oral examination is a comprehensive exam that includes the assessment of the mouth and overall health. A dentist uses this exam to recommend dental treatment. During this exam, the dentist looks for any signs of dental disease. If they see any, the dentist will determine the best medicine. This exam may include a visual examination, periodontal probing, charting, or bitewing and posterior X-rays, depending on the findings.
A comprehensive exam is completed at the initial checkup and may be repeated every year. It includes a series of x-rays of the entire mouth, evaluation of gum disease, TMJ, and other health problems, and a detailed assessment of the teeth and gums. Comprehensive oral exams create a baseline for your oral health and allow dentists to identify problems early. However, some patients need more frequent exams, especially if they smoke.
A comprehensive oral examination is the most detailed of the three types of dental studies. Your dentist will check your teeth, gums, and extraoral tissues. He will also evaluate any fillings to determine whether they need to be replaced. Your dentist will also look for any signs of infection or inflammation. An oral examination will also determine whether your teeth are correctly aligned and whether you bite correctly. The dentist will explain how these exams will affect your oral health.
Some patients have certain health conditions that require a comprehensive exam. For example, those with heart valve disease need to take antibiotics before a dental exam to prevent the bacteria from entering their bloodstream. Hypertensive patients may also need their blood pressure measured. People with active herpes sores may also avoid dental exams because they increase the risk of spreading the infection. Dentists protect their patients by wearing masks and gloves while conducting oral exams.
Extraoral examinations usually involve a direct visual inspection and dental mirrors. In some cases, the tongue may need to be retracted to view the palatal mucosa. The palatine torus, a bony swelling in the middle of the hard palate, may also be located in the mouth. The lingual tonsils are located in the posterior-lateral part of the oral tongue and can be enlarged when infected by viral infections.
X-rays are an adjunct to the oral examination. These images provide a better view of the mouth’s bones, which can aid in the diagnosis of a dental ailment. The dentist may also take radiographs and pictures of teeth after the X-rays pass through them. X-rays help diagnose dental cavities but cannot analyze soft tissue.
This exam is necessary for children and adults alike and should be scheduled within the first six months of the child’s first tooth. The doctor may recommend more frequent visits if there is a child’s teeth or oral health problem. The typical dental exam includes a cleaning by the hygienist, x-rays on certain holidays, and a checkup by the dentist.