At Loretto Family Dentistry we attend to many dental patients every day. The majority of our patients are doing their first or second annual dental visit and, in some cases, a third or fourth visit for treatment follow-up. Whether you are coming to our clinic for a first, second or consequent visit, a dental exam must be carried out.
What Is A Dental Exam?
A dental exam is an oral assessment of the status of your teeth and the supporting structures. It is done using procedures such as questioning, oral examination, radiographs, and other diagnostic procedures. The resulting action is a treatment plan if any issues are noticed or a typical dental cleaning if you get a clean bill of health.
Oral exams can be preventive when they are done out of routine, meaning that the patient has no manifesting teeth issues and they have been faithful to their annual visits. However, oral exams can also be part of a treatment plan when their purpose is to track the effectiveness of the treatment. For example, if our periodontist fixed a dental bridge for a patient a week ago, a dental exam may be required to check how well the bridge is functioning.
As recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA) we perform a comprehensive dental examination at your first visit to our clinic. If you are our long-term patient, we perform a typical exam every time you visit and a thorough exam every 3 years or any time you come with specific oral complaints. Thorough dental exams usually involve digital radiographs for better diagnosis.
The General Procedure of a Dental Exam
Whether you are our long-term patient or are visiting our clinic for the first time, we follow a standard examination procedure. We commence by reviewing your dental history for new issues or tracing your treatment progress. If you are a new patient, we build your dental history afresh.
We then examine your oral status using an explorer. We pay attention to any signs of tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. If you have fillings or bridges, we assess them to ascertain that they are still solid and do not need any repairs or redoing altogether. Our dentist will always give you a typical dental cleaning if you have no specific dental problems. If you manifest signs of oral disease, we will either treat you for issues obvious to our naked eye or proceed for more precise diagnosis if we notice signs of underlying issues.
We take digital radiographs to determine the extent of your root destruction if our physical examination notices loose teeth or stains on your enamel. We will also take x-rays if you have extreme gum recession and destruction or if you have abscesses. Digital radiographs will help us design an appropriate treatment plan for complex oral issues or cosmetic surgical procedures.
Our dental exam sessions are always concluded with setting a date for your next dental visit, usually in six months if you do not need extra treatment visits. Visit us any time for a comprehensive dental exam You may also call us at Loretto Family Dentistry at (940) 287-3535 to confirm your scheduled dental exam visit or make one with us.