A comprehensive oral examination can be thought of as the more thorough and exhaustive cousin of your regular dental check-up. It’s the examination that lays the foundation for the more general or periodic check-up to occur at regular 6 month intervals. Perhaps you’ve changed dentist, or perhaps you just haven’t attended as frequently as recommended; in either case, a comprehensive oral examination is likely to be required in order to secure a complete understanding of your dental health.
Interestingly, regular oral examinations have become increasingly recognised as a window into the health of the body. Abnormalities in dental health can indicate health conditions throughout the rest of the body, including:
- Cardiovascular problems
- Systemic disorders, like leukemia
- Immune abnormalities
- Sinus problems
- Sleep disordered breathing
All this, of course, is beyond the complications that may occur to oral health itself. So the necessity of a comprehensive oral examination is clear. But what exactly does a comprehensive oral examination entail?
What’s Included in a Comprehensive Oral Examination
So we know that it’s important, but what’s included? First of all, your full medical and dental history will be assessed, noting any current medicines or supplementation currently in use. It is also important to assess current illnesses or treatments the patient may be experiencing, along with previous hospitalisations, allergies, and response behaviour to anaesthetics.
Beyond this initial screening, a series of explicit examinations will be conducted, including the following:
- X-rays will be taken according to the patient’s need. A series of full mouth x-rays will reveal any abnormalities in teeth and the supporting oral structure, otherwise invisible to the naked eye.
- An examination of lymph nodes will follow. Attention will be paid to pain, tenderness, and mobility.
- We will assess the patient’s jaw mobility, along with the surface area of the mouth and lips.
- An assessment of the patient’s bite will be undertaken in order to determine potential areas of discomfort and grounds for improvement.
- Importantly, we will conduct a full tooth record, noting the full condition of each individual tooth. This will determine much of the varied amount of dental work that may be needed to ensure oral health and wellbeing. Inta-oral photos may be taken to substantiate these findings.
- An Assessment of gum health and intraoral soft tissues will also be conducted.
Finally, and as expected, we will discuss all relevant findings of our examination with the patient, and communicate openly and constructively about the need, if any, for the development of a treatment plan. Attention will be paid to both the immediate and long-term wellbeing of the patient.
The Benefits of a Comprehensive Oral Examination
More than just beneficial, a comprehensive oral examination is a necessity. We strongly recommend this service if you’re currently out of regular consultation with a dentist you trust.
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