An oral examination is a physical diagnosis for a systematic evaluation of gum and oral health. The main objective here is to study the medical condition of the mouth and relate it to dental history to provide an insight of the overall health and determine the wellness of the patient. Though it has received very less emphasis in medical predontal curriculum, regular evaluation helps you evaluate oral problems and developing risk of tooth decay.
If you are not sure of what to expect during your first oral examination then this article is your guide towards the step by step procedure. Oral health examination is a very systematic process where all the facets of your mouth are carefully investigated to identify concerns and if any pathologies are detected then a customized treatment can be planned accordingly.
You Might Go Through These Facets at a Time of Oral Examination
Collecting medical history
It is important for a dentist to take your medical history into account and then design oral health solutions. You might be asked question about the medicine that you intake or if you are any vitamin or home remedies to cure illness. Previous surgeries or cardiac implant can make a lot of difference in your dental treatment.
Do not get offended if you dentist asks question about smoke and alcohol consumption. If you have any previous experience of anesthesia or a family history of illness than even that must be shared with the dentist. All this information will be valuable for the dentist and the hygienist to identify needed precaution for the dental treatment.
The second step of oral health examination is a thorough examination of the gum, teeth, supporting structure and implants if any. The objective is to find any cavities and any sign of oral illness that can be cured will in time. Various techniques are made use of, the problems can be fixed on the same sitting or a next appointment can be fixed.
Finding Cavities and Broken Fillings
The procedure is performed by a dental hygienist, every single tooth is examined carefully to make sure that there are no untreated cavities. If there are any fillings then the quality is checked with a fishhook or a crown horn.
Broken fillings and silver amalgam filling can also be replaced during the examination. Calculus deposit is removed with a pigtail tool and the candidate can also be taken for an X-ray that could be bitewings(premolars and molars) or full-mouth X-ray to detect abnormalities that might not be visible with naked eyes.
Detecting Periodontal Diseases
Tightly fixed teeth are a sign of healthy gum, however if this is not the case then you might be suffering from periodontal disease that affects the bone structure and can cause bone loss. Level of gum adherence is checked by inserting a calibrated probe that measures in millimeter. If the numbers recorded are between one, two and three then the health of the gums is completely fine and anything above that should be worried about. Cleaning can cause tightening, if not a root planing or scaling appointment will be fixed for later.
Cleaning using Latest Techniques
The dental hygienist clean every tooth making tools like scaler, curet and at time, high frequency ultrasonic scalers. The cleaning is not only done on the tooth but inside the gum and between the teeth as well.
The hygienist will gently polish the teeth taking care of the enamel. It is further polished with toothpaste and baking soda but the final treatment involves fluoride.
Educating the Patient
The investigation phase is followed by a consultation where the dentist spends some time with the patient and guides them about the general hygiene and letting them know about the findings and problematic issue if any. Complicated cases are advices to the specialist and treatment plans are designed.
Professional Cleaning Recommended
Casual dental checkup is advised every six months and cases that are more prone to periodontal diseases i.e a diabetic or a smoke must see a dentist every two months. Regular checkups avoid complicated damages and you are no more in need of invasive treatment as cure can be done in initial stage only.
Regular Brushing and Flossing
Though a general advice is of brushing and flossing twice a day but it is good for oral health but you can follow the routine after every meal.
The dentist guides you the right procedure of brushing because improper brushing can be the root cause of gum recession and enamel loss. Flossing can remove debris and avoid bacterial growth in between the teeth. You can even make use of xylitol to enhance oral health.
Healthy Habits for Dental Hygiene
Nutritional habit play an important role in improving oral health. Your hygienist and dentist will review your nutritional habit that are beneficial for the gum and the teeth. There are special treatments for treating dry mouth, bad breath and even tooth sensitivity. Individual needs are also taken care of, smoker is guided differently on how they are at great risk of periodontal disease.
There are specially designed treatment for all age group and a special doctor for small kids and infants. While doing an oral examination, it is not just the oral care that is included but it also has a lot to do with the jaw, neck, head, salivary gland and the nervous system. Studies indicate the connection of general health condition with oral health and regular checkup can avoid chronic illness.
Last but Not the Least
The oral exam doesn’t end here, the patient is properly diagnosed and anything complicate is treated further or referred to a specialist. But in order to promote better oral health, the dentist will also give you a take home bag that will have products to enhances oral hygiene. The bag might include:
(a) New or an interdental brush
(b) Rubber tip stimulator
(d) Tongue cleaner
There is no better way than this to take care of your oral hygiene than regular brushing and flossing. Keep your mouth health with the basics and for the rest there are professional dentists.