Typically done at your first visit with Dr. Chiu, an oral exam to evaluate the overall health of your teeth and gums will include a thorough head, neck, and oral assessment with x-rays. The exam helps us build the foundation for an individualized treatment plan to help maintain optimal oral health.
What can I expect during my exam?
1. Medical and dental history
We usually start with a discussion of your medical and dental history. This includes information about medications, allergies, previous dental treatments, and any pre-existing medical conditions.
2. Extraoral examination
This is an examination of your face, neck, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ), looking out for any asymmetry, swelling, or signs of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
3. Intraoral examination
Next, we’ll take a look at your oral cavity, including the teeth, gums, tongue, cheeks, palate, and floor of the mouth. To do this we use a mirror, explorer, and other tools to assess the condition of each of your teeth and their surrounding tissues.
4. Teeth assessment
This step includes an evaluation of the condition of each tooth, looking for signs of decay, cavities, cracks, wear, or other abnormalities. We also assess the quality of existing restorations (fillings, crowns, etc.) and identify any potential issues.
5. Periodontal assessment
Next we examine your gums and supporting structures to assess their overall health, checking for signs of gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis).
6. Oral cancer screening
We will also perform an oral cancer screening as a preventive measure.
7. Dental x-rays
X-rays play a crucial role in a comprehensive examination, providing a detailed view of the teeth, roots, and supporting structures. X-rays help identify hidden dental problems such as tooth decay, infections, impacted teeth, or bone loss.
8. Building a treatment plan
Based on what we find in the examination, we will work with you to build a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your needs, including addressing any existing problems, preventive measures, cosmetic dentistry, or other channels of specialized care.
This holistic assessment of your oral health is just the first step. The resulting treatment plan works as a guide for the long term to promote and maintain your oral health and help prevent problems before they start.