Comprehensive dental examinations are essential for identifying potential issues that have yet to show any symptoms. At Gentle Dental, we perform a comprehensive exam for every new patient, so we can identify any issues that can negatively impact a patient’s quality of life.
How Often Do I Need a Comprehensive Dental Exam?
It’s important to get a comprehensive exam during your first appointment with a new dentist. It’s also best to get an exam if you haven’t been to the dentist in three or more years, or if you have experienced any significant health issues since your last dental appointment. Your dentist will want to be aware of your condition, since it could impact your dental health and treatment plan.
What to Expect
Unlike a general dental examination, comprehensive exams include several steps, designed to identify specific potential issues. These include:
- Digital X-Rays: The dentist will perform comprehensive dental X-rays to check for decay, cavities, cysts, tumors, bone loss and other potential issues. X-rays will also allow the dentist to map tooth and root positions, so he or she can monitor changes over time. X-rays also give dentists a visual reference, so they can better explain conditions and treatment options to patients.
- Gum Disease Screening: Your hygienist will inspect your gums and the bone around your teeth for any signs of gum disease. He or she will perform tests using a periodontal probe, which is a small measuring stick that can determine pocket depth. While healthy depths measure between 1 to 3 millimeters, larger numbers can indicate pockets of infection requiring treatment.
- Oral cancer screening: Since oral cancer can go unnoticed for years before obvious symptoms arise, early detection is essential to promoting positive outcomes. With this in mind, your dentist will inspect your oral tissue for any lumps, lesions or discolorations, which could be a sign of oral cancer. This will include your mouth, gums, tongue, lips and neck. If the dentist suspects a potential issue, he or she may suggest a biopsy to test suspicious tissue for cancer cells.
- Oral Exam: During the oral examination, your dentist will inspect your teeth for signs of decay. He or she will also assess the condition of previous restorations, including fillings, bridges, crowns and implants. If the dentist finds a potential issue, he or she will make recommendations on how to best correct the problem.
Why do we perform a comprehensive exam for every new patient?
Because we understand that patients have unforgiving schedules, Gentle Dental offers flexible appointments at numerous convenient locations. Most insurance plans cover the entire cost of comprehensive dental examinations. Our staff is happy to explain costs and payment options, including potential in-house discount plans and financing options for patients without insurance coverage. To make an appointment, simply call your nearest Gentle Dental office.
How Can I Schedule a Comprehensive Exam?
We are committed to providing the best oral health care available. The initial visit offers us an opportunity to develop a baseline for measuring your oral health. If we notice changes throughout our relationship with you, we can advise you of our observations so that we can develop an effective treatment plan.