Before any diagnosis is given or dental procedure is performed, the dental examination needs to be carried out to ascertain your oral health status. A dental examination is the systematic inspection of the teeth and gums using physical assessments, radiographs, and other diagnostic means.
In a comprehensive dental examination, not only are the teeth and gingiva examined, but also the entire mouth, head, and neck area. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), patients seeing a dental professional for the first time should receive a comprehensive examination. All established patients should also receive a comprehensive examination from age two, although the examination carried out during routine dental checkups is not as detailed as that of a first time comprehensive dental examination. The ADA's recommendation is observed at Peninsula Family Dental Center.
First of all, a detailed medical and dental history is taken. This includes bio-data, questions on smoking and alcohol consumption, current medical conditions being treated, family history of diseases, previous experience with anesthesia and family members' reactions to anesthesia, medications you are taking, allergies, previous surgical procedures, any presenting complaints, and a history of past presenting complaints.
Next, the face is observed for symmetry, and your profile type is checked. The presence of asymmetry can be indicative of muscle hypertrophy or atrophy, neurological abnormalities, tumors, malocclusions, or Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD). The head and neck are also palpated for swelling and tenderness in the lymph nodes and salivary glands, which can be signs of infection or cancer, especially in people 35 years or older. The skin of the head and neck is checked for lesions. The lips are examined for vermillion distinctiveness, dryness, and cracking; the commissures on the lips are also checked for the presence or absence of ulcers. The temporomandibular joints (TMJs) and thyroid gland are observed.
Every tooth in the mouth is inspected for decay and cavities. The gingiva is examined for gum disease, erythema, edema, and any other signs of inflammation. Probing the gingiva gently may help the attending dental professional ascertain if your gums bleed easily. The soft tissues of the mouth, including the tongue; the mucous membrane of the lips and cheeks; uvula; the palates; floor of the mouth, are checked for hairs, saliva flow and consistency, coats, ulcers, cuts, and signs of inflammation. The maxilla and mandible are also examined. X-rays of the mouth will be taken as needed to view abnormalities not obvious to the naked eye.
With a tongue depressor or mouth mirror on the tongue, the walls of the oropharynx as well as the tonsils are observed. Our dental professional will also check your occlusion, which is how your teeth meet when you bite normally. In a follow-up examination, problems with fillings, braces, dentures, bridges, space maintainers, and dental implants are checked.
Why Should I Have a Dental Examination?
Following a dental examination, our dental professional may clean your teeth, which reduces the risk of developing cavities and gum disease. It benefits your oral and overall health. The dental examination enables the early detection of oral and even systemic diseases. Signs and symptoms of diseases like diabetes mellitus, syphilis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and many autoimmune diseases may appear first in the oral cavity. Treatment of diseases in their early stages offers less discomfort than when treated in emergency situations or after battling with them for an extended period of time.
The dental examination prevents the onset of diseases and allows proactive medical and dental treatment to be provided when necessary. To schedule your comprehensive dental examination today, please call Peninsula Family Dental Center via (907) 283-9125.