A comprehensive dental examination (or oral exam) is a procedure that should be done any time you visit a new dentist or every three to five years with our Cambridge, Fergus or Toronto dentists to ascertain if there have been any changes in your health or in your dental status since your last dental exam.
Checkup versus Comprehensive Exam
In an average dental checkup your dentist at Country Dental will examine your teeth and gums for any tooth decay or changes in dental health. Generally speaking, a checkup is fairly quick, usually requiring less than 20 minutes. A comprehensive dental exam can take an hour or more, as your dentist will explore every area of your oral health. In short:
- A dental checkup mainly looks at the highlights of your oral health
- A comprehensive exam goes into greater depth
Most people do not have their teeth cleaned during their comprehensive dental exam however, after the oral examination your dentist will have a full understanding of your periodontal health and if a cleaning, or other dental work is needed, it can be discussed following the exam.
Oral Health Areas That Are Examined
- Full periodontal exam (which includes both the gums and the jawbones that support your teeth)
- Complete exam of the teeth themselves
- Full examination of the head, mouth, and throat (for signs of cancer)
- Complete Occlusal exam (an analysis of your bite)
- Full TMJ exam (the joints of the jaws)
- Full dental X-rays or other types of scans
- Complete salivary exam
- An Esthetic exam (the overall appearance of the teeth and jaw in relation to the face)
When Should a Comprehensive Dental Exam Be Performed?
Other than the recommended 3 to 5 year dental exam, any time major dental work is planned then a full comprehensive dental examination should be done. Major dental work would include the following:
- If you are considering orthodontic braces or any other type of esthetic changes
- If you are thinking about dental implants to replace lost teeth
- If you want to replace older dental work
- If you are getting new or replacement dentures
Also, if you have been recently diagnosed with a medical condition or disease, you should have our qualified dentists do a comprehensive oral exam.
At times you might find that your dentist suggests additional consultations with other oral specialists either during or after your exam. Don’t be concerned if this happens. This is usually just an additional step towards obtaining a full report and doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is drastically amiss.
After the completion of a comprehensive dental exam your dentist will know everything there is to know about your oral health. In this way, you and your Country Dental dentist can make choices that are right for your condition.
Dental and other oral problems and diseases are generally very predictable and so much of it is preventable, if caught early enough.
Every journey starts with just one step in the right direction. If it has been 3 years or more since your last comprehensive oral exam, book a dental appointment.
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