What Is A Dental Exam?

Dental exams and dental checkups are terms that are commonly used interchangeably. However, a dental checkup usually refers to a routine check to monitor oral health. A dental exam is also referred to as a complete oral exam or comprehensive exam. A dental exam or complete oral exam is a much more detailed process. A complete oral exam involves the charting of many factors in the mouth. This creates a baseline of oral health against which all dental checkups are compared.

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What Do Complete Dental Exams Include?

A complete oral exam or dental exam is like taking a detailed snapshot of your oral health. This snapshot of information will then be used to look for negative or positive changes in oral health. These type of comprehensive exams are done every couple of years to every five years.

This type of exam involves taking photographs of the teeth, gums, and the mouth in general. It also includes taking x-rays of teeth to look for things such as jawbone loss or bone loss in the mouth. X-rays also show sign of dental infection or decay. They may also be used to show the development of teeth in children and young adults.

Your dental professional will also chart some teeth you have and the type of dental restorations present on the teeth if applicable. Other information about each tooth is recorded as well. Things such as gum recession, rotations, attrition levels, abrasion levels, bleeding points, root exposure, and deep areas in the gums are also recorded.

Screening for oral cancer and checking of the soft tissues in the mouth are also completed to note health or any irregularities.

What Do Dental Checkups Include?

A dental checkup, on the other hand, is done a couple of times a year. The dental check-up looks for changes in oral health when compared to baseline data from the complete oral exam. Routine x-rays and dental checkups help to detect subtle or major changes in bone loss, gum levels, deep areas between the gums and teeth, etc. These type of monitoring exams help to personalize a treatment plan that is suited for you specifically.

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It is important to remember that most minor dental issues may not be accompanied with pain. By the time you feel pain, the dental issue may have increased in severity so much that major dental work may be needed. Routine dental exams and checkups help to prevent these issues by monitoring oral health continuously.

If it has been a while since your last dental exam or if you have never had a dental exam, contact us to schedule your appointment.