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Dental Exams & Cleanings

Comprehensive Dental Exam

A comprehensive oral health examination will be performed at your initial dental visit.  This will include the following:

  • Diagnostic Examination of Full Mouth Radiographs (x-rays): In order to perform a comprehensive examination it is essential the dentist be able to radiographically examine the entire mouth for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, bone loss, and tooth position.
  • Full Mouth Intra-Oral Pictures: Intra-oral pictures will be taken of teeth.  This allows the dentist to show the patient close-up pictures of their teeth and also provides valuable diagnostic information in the future-as new and old pictures can be compared to evaluate changes. 
  • Oral Cancer Screening:  The dentist will check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer. 
  • Periodontal Health Evaluation:  An examination of the gums and bone around the teeth will be performed to detect any signs of periodontal disease.  Measurements of periodontal pocketing will be taken to help determine periodontal health and to allow for future comparison to ensure proper periodontal health is maintained.
  • Tooth Health Examination:  All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay, wear, erosion, and fractures with special dental instruments.  Examination of existing restorations (fillings, crowns, etc.) will also be performed.  A diagnostic laser can be used to detect very small cavities, which allows the dentist to be as conservative as possible.

Jaw Joint Health Examination:  The dentist will evaluate the health of the TMJ (tempro-mandibular joint) including the position of the jaw when the teeth bite together.  If the jaw joint and the teeth are not in harmony with each other, any or all of the following can occur:  joint and muscle pain, wear of teeth, broken teeth and restorations. 

Professional Dental Cleaning

Professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis) are usually performed by Registered Dental Hygienists.  Your cleaning appointment will include a dental exam and the following:

  • Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface.  Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
  • Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth.  It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva.  The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums.  This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease!
  • Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.

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