A comprehensive oral health examination will usually take about 1.5 hours and 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 all teeth. This allows the dentist to show the patient close-up pictures of their teeth and also provides valuable diagnostic information in the future to evaluate for any 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 tissues 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.