At this appointment we do a very detailed and thorough dental examination. Consider it a physical from the neck up. Your examination will include:
We will often take x-rays during your comprehensive exam. These most commonly include bitewing radiographs. Bitewing radiographs are also known as “cavity detection” x-rays because the most common spot for cavities to form are in between your teeth where we cannot see directly. Bitewing radiographs allow us to see in between your teeth for detection and monitoring of small beginning cavities that do not yet require a filling. We take new bitewing radiographs yearly to monitor that the small beginning cavities do not get any bigger. This approach allows us to be conservative and we can sometimes avoid the need for fillings.
Occasionally we will take a Panoramic or full mouth series of x-rays. For our relatively healthy patients this might not be necessary. But for our patients that have been without dental care for a long time, or patients with root canals, missing teeth or signs of infection, a full mouth series of x-rays are generally recommended. If you need your wisdom teeth (third molars) removed, a panoramic x-ray is normally preferred. If you suffer from any joint issues, a panoramic x-ray might also be recommended to evaluate for any arthritis changes.
Finally, we perform a complete full-mouth charting of your gums. A vital component of a proper dental exam is checking for and monitoring any gum disease. We do this by measuring “attachment loss”. Click here for more information about attachment loss and periodontal disease. We want to make sure your teeth have the appropriate bone and tissue support to allow for proper oral and systemic health. Scientific evidence links poor gum tissue health with diabetes and heart disease.
We will then give you recommendation for treatments, discuss options and answer any questions you might have. Together we will establish where you want to go with your care. We will always tailor treatment to meet your specific needs and expectations.