Comprehensive Periodic Oral Exams
Before a dentist can restore a single tooth, a group of teeth or the entire mouth, oral disease must be treated and eliminated (i.e. caries, gum disease, oral infections and abscesses).
A dentist has many options when it comes to restoring a patient’s mouth. These options need to be discussed with the patient after radiographs (X-rays) and a comprehensive oral examination (C.O.E) is completed.
All dental treatment should be preceded by a dental examination. At Garden City Center for Dental Excellence, all patients seen for the first time receive a comprehensive oral examination. This exam is a thorough evaluation of the hard and soft tissues of the oral cavity and a head/neck region. The purpose of this C.O.E is to identify and diagnosis oral pathology and dental disease.
Our comprehensive examination consists of several components:
- 1. Head/Neck Examination: A visual and tactile examination affords the dentist an opportunity to evaluate the head and neck regions. Visually, we inspect the head and neck area for abnormal changes. Pigmented lesions, nodules and tissue growths are identified for further evaluation and biopsy. Palpating the soft and hard tissues of this area can help identify enlarged lymph nodes and nodules that are not on the skin’s surface. These can be signs of other underlying areas of concern.
- 2. Radiographic Examination: Radiographs (x-rays) provide the dentist with information that is invisible to the naked eye. Decay between the teeth, bone loss under the gums and abscesses in the bone can be diagnosed from x-rays. Early detection of these problems allows for early treatment, minimizing in many cases, extensive dentistry if left undetected.
- 3. Periodontal Evaluation: A Periodontal Evaluation is an examination of the gums, bone and the ligament that support the teeth in the mouth. Factors such as pocket depth, bleeding, suppuration (pus), gum recession and tooth mobility are recorded and used to create a baseline. From this information a periodontal diagnosis is made. If periodontal disease is present in any stage, a treatment protocol is established to help treat this condition. Subsequent evaluations help monitor the status of the patient’s gums and associated structures to determine if further treatment is necessary.
- 4. Intraoral Examination: The Intraoral and Extraoral Examinations complete the comprehensive evaluation. Here we inspect the soft tissue for irregular changes. Muscles of mastication (chewing) are evaluated for tenderness. The teeth are evaluated for decay and existing restorations are examined for any problems that would warrant them to be replaced. Conditions such as grinding, malocclusions (bad bites) and joint pain are identified.
Periodic Oral Exams are completed on a regular basis at each hygiene visit. These evaluations allow the dental team to identify new problems as they arise, and to monitor existing issues to see if they warrant any further treatment. Keeping a close tab on your dental health helps identify dental concerns in their early stages which helps minimize extensive dental treatment.
Once all of this information is collected and analyzed, a diagnosis can be made and a list of necessary treatment determined. Only after consultation with the patient during which proposed treatment options are discussed, should treatment begin.