Dental Examinations

What do you mean by Dental Examination?
The dental examination is an important element of preventive health care. During a dental examination, a dentist normally will clean the patient’s teeth and inspect for any cavities or gum diseases. The dentist will also check for any risk of any oral health issues that can appear on the patient’s face, neck and mouth by checking for any abnormalities.

The dentist usually utilizes dental X-rays and other diagnostic procedures for diagnosis purposes.

The dentist might discuss the diet and other oral hygiene habits of the patient. They might also walk the patient through the right brushing and flossing techniques. They will also include the patient’s lifestyle factors that might affect the oral health. They might suggest cosmetic improvements that they can do to the patient’s teeth for a better aesthetics.

Reason for Dental Examinations
It is recommended that everyone go through regular dental examinations to protect their oral health and general well being. The dentist on conducting a dental examination on a patient can provide tips to take care of their teeth and for early detection of any issues that will harm the teeth so that they can also treat them early.

Adults are recommended to have schedule and regular dental examinations. These regular dental appointments are also recommended for patients without natural teeth. Since this will help the dentist to maintain the health and usefulness of the replacement teeth also.

Dental Examination Process
The patient can expect the following during a dental examination.

  • An evaluation of the patient’s overall health and oral hygiene. The dentist will ask the patient for any health problems.
  • The dentist might ask for the medications that the patient is currently using. This is to check if the patient’s dental problems are due to any medications that he/she is consuming.
  • The dentist will also check if the patient is suffering from degenerative diseases like arthritis that will create problems for the patient while brushing and might suggest alternatives like electric toothbrush etc.
  • An assessment for any risks from tooth decay, root decay and gum or bone diseases.
  • Check if the patient would require any tooth restoration or replacement.
  • Evaluate the patient’s bite and jaws for any issues.
  • Get rid of any stains or deposits on the teeth.
  • Show the right and proper cleaning techniques for the teeth.
  • The dentist will check if the dentures or bridges used by the patient are fitted properly and might suggest adjustments, if not properly fitted.
  • Check for any need for fluoride.
  • Perform dental X-rays or other diagnostic procedures, if required.

Dental Examination Procedures

The different procedures that the dentists utilize during a dental examination are:

Dental X-ray: helps the dentist to view detailed images of the mouth. The dentist might use any of the following dental X-ray types depending on the use:

  • Bitewing: to see the crowns of the upper and lower teeth. The patient is told to bite the X-ray film holder when the X-Ray is being taken.
  • Periapical: to see the entire tooth and the bone.
  • Occlusal: to check whether the upper and lower teeth fit together when the patient closes the jaw.
  • Panoramic: to give a wide view of the mouth.
  • Cone beam Computerized Tomography: to get a 3D view for better understanding of the teeth’s spacing and adjacent structures.

Oral Cancer Exam: The dentist will check for any signs of oral cancer in the patient by checking and feeling under the jaw, sides of the neck and insides of the lips and cheeks. They will also check the sides of the tongue, the roof and floor of the mouth.

Dental Impression: The dentist might make a dental impression of the jaws to get a replica of the patient’s teeth and oral tissue. This impression will help the dentist to check the patient’s bite to make a mouthguard or bleaching trays.

Authored By Dr Sanjay N - Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopaedics, Bangalore

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