The dental examination is a systematic process during which one of Westport Dental Centre’s dentists will investigate many facets of your oral and systemic health in order to identify pathologies or concerns. This will allow them to develop a uniquely customised treatment plan that is catered towards maximizing your oral health while meeting your goals and expectations. The dental exam can catch problems early, before you see or feel them and when they are much easier and less expensive to treat.
Please remember that the dental exam is CRITICAL to your ongoing oral health and only your dentist can perform this. The exam consists of the dentist looking inside your mouth for things that can affect your oral – and your overall – health. Many of these are things you can’t see on your own, but a dentist is trained to detect them.
As well as the visual inspection of your mouth, the exam includes a complete medical history so that the dentist knows about any health conditions that may affect the success of dental treatment or procedures or that may be associated with oral health problems. It may also include dental x-rays, if necessary. These can show such problems as cavities under existing fillings, fractures, impacted wisdom teeth, decay under your gum line and bone loss caused by gum disease.
Here is some of what your dentist is looking for during a dental exam:
- Damaged, missing or decayed teeth
- Early signs of cavities
- Condition of your gums, such as periodontal pockets, inflammation or other signs of gum disease (which can lead to tooth and bone loss)
- Evidence of how previous dental work such as root canals, fillings and crowns are holding up
- Early signs of mouth or throat cancer, such as white lesions or blocked salivary glands
- Other suspicious growth or cysts
- Position of your teeth (e.g. spacing, bite)
- Signs that you clench or grind your teeth (a treatable problem that can cause headache or sore jaw and can, if serious, lead to hearing loss and tooth loss)
- The overall health and function of your temporomandibular joint (which joins the jaw to skull), checking for signs of disorders that can cause pain or tenderness