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  COMPREHENSIVE EXAM

A comprehensive exam lays the foundation for excellent dental care.
Here you will experience the easy, gentle way to painless dental health.

       The American Dental Association recommends “comprehensive dental exams” for all patients that are new to a practice and for “established” patients, those who are already in the practice, every three years.

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     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:

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Diabetes, especially with poorly controlled or undiagnosed diabetes.

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Systemic disorders such as leukemia.

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Blood pressure because we have often picked up many cases of high blood pressure that have been referred to their physicians. 

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Cardiovascular problems, gum and bone disease can raise your risk of heart disease

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Oral cancer, an oral cancer exam is done on all our patients.

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Immune abnormalities.

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Sinus problems, rule out a tooth problem as the cause of the pain.

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.

Valuable tools used by gentle hands.

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     The comprehensive exam involves the following:

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  Pre-rinse for 30 seconds with Breath RX

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  Extensive medical and dental history  

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  Review of any medications patient is taking

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  Blood pressure for designated patients

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  Cancer screen for oral cancer involving:

                   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.

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  Periodontal exam or periodontal screening which involves taking 6 measurements PER tooth of pocket depths and recording these pocket depths.  In this exam mobility of teeth are checked; bone loss is measured; calculus, bleeding, swelling and recession are recorded to determine presence of gum. If you are sensitive to this exam please ask for:  ZAP, Oraqix, Reed-O-Caine, nitrous, and TENS

Gum tissue exam is done to determine the health of your gum tissue

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  Occlusal Screen to exam biting for:

  1. Bad bites that include teeth that are crooked, crowded or spaced too far apart.

  2. Overbite which is when the upper jaw is too far in the front of the lower jaw or the upper jaw is too far back

  3. Underbite or "bulldog" jaw occurs when the lower jaw is too far in front or the upper jaw is too far back.

  4. Open bite occurs when the back teeth contact and the front or side teeth do not which can lead to excessive wear of the teeth or damage the jaw joints.

  5. Crossbite occurs when a tooth or a series of teeth are in opposite placement to the normal causing chewing problems.

  6. Wear of teeth

  7. Chewing problems

  8. Pain in joints and jaw areas

  9. Mouth opening abilities

  10. Checking for TMJ/TMD

Dr. Peterson checking for TMJ/TMD

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Complete cavity check tooth by tooth which is recorded in a detailed tooth chart  recording: conditions of the teeth and mouth; existing work done on the teeth; decay; leakage; treatments needing to be done; positions of teeth; impactions.

A comprehensive tooth chart is developed....we will print out a copy of yours for you

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Comprehensive treatment plans are designed to incorporate the patient’s immediate, intermediate and long-term dental needs.  An evaluation of possible cosmetic enhancements of your smile will be done.  This plan will be covered with you.  This consultant with Dr. Peterson and our treatment plan coordinator will be at this appointment or at another no fee appointment time that works best for you.

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Determining the shades of your tooth color:

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Referral to specialist for specific treatment.

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Necessary cavity detecting x-rays.

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.

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     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.

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     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).

Click here for a larger version of the antomy of a healthy tooth

* Intraoral Cameras Help Predict and Prevent Tooth Loss, Goldstein, Contemporary Esthetics and Restorative Practice pg 16-19 October 2001.

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PLEASE NOTE: The information contained 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.
This site is privately and personally sponsored, funded and supported by Dr. Peterson.  We have no outside funding.
Confidentiality of data including your identity, is respected  by this Web site. We undertake to honor or exceed the legal requirements of medical/health information privacy that apply in Nebraska.

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