A complete oral exam is a diagnostic exam that a dental professional will do to gather all the necessary information for your mouth and oral health. The purpose of the exam is to collect information regarding your oral and overall health. A complete oral exam will usually be completed at your first appointment to a new dentist so that the new dentist can obtain baseline information, as well as every few years to update all current information and charting.

Complete Oral Exam Procedure

Your dental professional will use this exam as a time to make sure all information is present and up to date. Here is a list of what may take place at a complete oral exam:

– Updating medical history. Oral health and overall health have many correlations
– Charting any missing, chipped, broken or decayed teeth
– Charting any existing fillings, crowns, bridges, implants, root canals or prosthetics
– Assessing the condition of previous dental restorative work
– Checking for early signs of throat or mouth cancer
– Checking the lymph nodes and neck for any signs of abnormalities
– Assessing the position and occlusion of the teeth
– Assessing the jaw joint and checking for signs of grinding or clenching
– Gum measurements to check for gum disease
– Dental x-rays to check areas between your teeth that aren’t visible during the clinical exam
– Photos of your teeth as a reference point to check for changes to dental work over time
– Recommendations for an oral self-care regiment at home and a treatment plan if any dental work is required/recommended
– Any referrals to specialists such as an orthodontist, periodontist or oral surgeon if required

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Benefits of a Complete Oral Exam

The importance of the complete oral exam is to provide a full assessment and catch/diagnose any issues in an early stage. Between each comprehensive oral exam, your dentist will do a check-up called a recall exam. The recall exam will be done every 6-12 months based on need and will check tooth and gum health and address any of your concerns. While the recall exam is beneficial, it lacks many of the diagnostic tools and assessments used in a complete oral exam. A comprehensive oral exam is recommended every 3 to 5 years, or more frequently based on need.

If you believe you may benefit from a complete oral exam, or have any questions about it, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.