The American Dental Association defines a comprehensive oral exam as an extensive evaluation and the recording of all extraoral, intraoral and soft tissues”.
A.D.A. define a “periodic oral exam” as an exam that is done on established patients to determine any changes in dental and health status since a previous comprehensive or periodic evaluation. A comprehensive exam lays the foundation for the “routine (periodic) oral exam” and is much more than just a cleaning.
The mouth is really a window into the body. Medical conditions may be discovered by a comprehensive dental exam before symptoms show up elsewhere in the body. Some examples are:
By doing a comprehensive exam, we can together devise a strategy for long-term health and comfort
Cavities are one of the few diseases that can be totally prevented with good oral health care.
The comprehensive exam involves the following:
Visual and digital examination of lymph nodes in front of the ears; behind the ears; jaw area; beneath the chin; and neck area looking for pain, tenderness, and flexibility of the nodes
Visual and digital examination of the lips (inside and out); inside the mouth including: hard and soft palate, behind the molars, floor of the mouth, lips, borders, frenum, surfaces of the checks, tongue size, color, shape and position.
Video Examination is taken with our intra-oral camera*. This is a video camera the size of a pen that allows you to see your mouth tooth by tooth to check for the presence of cavities, microcrackes, defects in tooth structure, faulty fillings and crowns, and to help determine gum tissue health.
The “routine oral exam” known as the periodic exam or recall exam is a maintenance exam done every 6 months after the comprehensive. This exam is done to aid in prevention of tooth decay, gum disease or other dental disorders that could develop during this time. These exams are like maintenance visits to help keep your teeth for a lifetime.
Remember A.D.A. recommends bitewings for children at least every 6 months, also cleanings and fluoride treatments are recommended routinely every 6 months (please keep in mind how important fluoride treatments are due to the lack of fluoride in our drinking water).
* Intraoral Cameras Help Predict and Prevent Tooth Loss, Goldstein, Contemporary Esthetics and Restorative Practice pg 16-19 October 2001.
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herein is intended for
educational purposes only. It is not intended and should
not be construed as the delivery of dental/medical care and
is not a substitute for personal
hands on dental/medical attention, diagnosis or treatment.
Persons requiring diagnosis, treatment, or with specific questions are urged
to contact your family dental/health care provider for appropriate care.
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