dental exam

Why should I have a dental exam?

Dental exams are essential to diagnosing and treating tooth decay and gum disease as early as possible to minimize the chance of needing more invasive, unexpected, or costly dental treatment.


What happens at a dental exam?

There are several different types of dental exams, depending on your needs and if you’ve been to a Dental Choice before:

  • New patient or a complete exam
  • Recall exam or annual check up
  • Emergency or Specific exam


What happens at a new patient or complete exam?

For your first visit to a Dental Choice location, you will have a series of X-rays that will allow the dentist to see visually inside your teeth, the condition of your roots and between the teeth. It will also determine bone loss, root health and the indication of any cysts or growths. The dentist will then complete a visual scan of the teeth, gums and soft tissue and compare it to the X-rays. Looking at the integrity of the teeth for possible decay, damage or any other concerns. They assess the health of the tissues in your mouth by looking for inflammation, bleeding, lesions, oral cancer or any other concerns.

Dentists will feel the glands and lymph nodes in your neck for possible signs of inflammation which could be an indicator of other general health conditions.

The dentist will be recording details of your current dentition including previous dental work like fillings, root canals or dental crowns, and missing teeth. They check the position of your jaw, bite and spacing of your teeth and the impact of the results.

Dentists will explain what they are doing during the examination and ask you questions to get a full understanding of your dental and medical history, as well as your oral health goals. Afterwards, they will provide you with a detailed treatment plan (if required) that aligns with your needs and long-term goals.

If your dentist identifies a problem that is complex or requires specialized treatment; the dentist may refer you to a dental specialist.

Approximately every three years the New Patient Exam format should be repeated for each patient. At this time it is a Complete Oral Exam. This allows for excellent long term treatment planning and comprehensive review at regular intervals.


What happens at a Recall Exam or annual “check up”?

This exam would be for Dental Choice patients. We will start with routine X-rays and any additional X-rays if required. The dentist will utilize these X-rays to assess the health of your teeth, gums and bone, as well as comparing them to your last set of X-rays. They will be looking at the condition of previous dental treatment, as well as any new decay and to confirm the integrity of your teeth.

We will also assess the soft tissue, looking for any early signs of oral cancer or other suspicious growths. Your dentist will look for changes or trends in your teeth and gums, that would not be visible at the first examination. Specific changes that your dentist may be looking for include changes in bone levels, changes in gum inflammation, increase in wear of the teeth, changes in the jaw joint, changes in the bite, and changes in your overall health that may affect the course of future dental treatment.

The value of the recall exam is evaluating patterns and changes that are not evident at the first exam. Many times at the first exam, specific issues are put under “watch” or “observe”. At the recall exam, it may become apparent that these items are in fact completely fine and no treatment is needed. Alternatively, the conditions may have become worse, but with regular recall exams changes are often caught early, keeping treatment minimally invasive. Also, with a recall exam the dentist and hygienist really then has time to get to know the priorities of you and your family. By getting to know those priorities your care will be custom to you and your family for years.


What happens at an Emergency or Specific exam?

Our main goal is to help get you out of pain and we will focus on the area or tooth that is bothering you. We start by taking appropriate X-rays to allow the dentist to see the condition of the tooth, roots and surrounding bone and may need to complete a few tests to confirm the problem. Once completed the dentist will review the findings with you and present treatment possibilities to help you get out of pain.


How much does a dental exam cost?

Most dental examinations are routine procedures. In some cases, patients may end up having variables that impact the pricing for their examination. This may include medical conditions, the use of sedation, or additional treatment requirements such as X-Rays or other analysis techniques. It’s important to note that the cost of regular dental examinations can be far less if issues are caught earlier rather than when they become infected or more damage is done.


For more information or to book an appointment, contact a Dental Choice clinic near you. We’re here to help.

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