The Comprehensive Oral Examination
At Aurora Smile Centre, it is our belief that high quality dental care begins with a clear and complete understanding of our patients’ oral health condition. Optimal oral health in form and function can only be achieved when there is harmony of all parts of the masticatory system (teeth, gums, jaw bones, jaw joints, and muscles). As every person is unique, time must be spent getting to know each person from the outside and inside. Once we have examined and recorded all pertinent information is it then possible to devise a treatment plan that has as its core goal the restoration of health and beauty.
The comprehensive oral examination follows a review of the medical and dental histories as completed by the patient, and involves visual, manual, and radiographic assessments. Our sequence of assessment generally begins from the outside (head & neck) and then moves inside to examine everything else (intraoral).
The head and neck review consists of :
- visual assessment of the general shape of the face, jaws, and neck for asymmetrical bone patterns, swellings/enlargements, and general skin tone
- manual (hands-on) assessment of the face and side of the head to feel for any swellings or enlargements, and to feel the muscles that move the jaws for overall tension or trigger points
- manual assessment of the neck (same as above)
- manual assessment of the TMJ’s (jaw joints) to detect any abnormalities with respect to function of the joint or pain/tenderness
The intraoral review consists of:
- visual assessment of the lips, tongue, floor of mouth (under the tongue), palate, inside of cheeks, and tonsil areas for any abnormalities (most are benign and not significant, but some may be truly pre-cancerous or cancerous)
- visual and manual assessment of each tooth and each filling to check for mobility (looseness), decay, deterioration, abnormal wear or abrasions, and cracks
- visual and manual assessment of any fixed or removable prostheses (bridges or dentures)
- visual and manual assessment of the static and dynamic occlusion (how the teeth fit together and how they move against each other)
- visual and manual assessment of the periodontal structures (gums and bone around teeth) to assess state of health or disease
The radiographic review consists of the exposing, developing, and visual assessment of x-ray films. There are two kinds that we use: the small ones that go inside your mouth, and a larger one that is exposed by a machine that rotates around the head and takes an 'ear to ear' panoramic image.
We always want to minimize patient exposure to the radiation generated by the taking of x-rays, so we make our recommendations on the number and type needed on an individual basis that may be based on the number of teeth present, history of dental diseases, and availability of recent past films from a prior dentist’s records.
Once all the information is collected and recorded in our patient chart, treatment planning may begin. While the overall goal is to help our patients achieve and maintain optimal function and appearance, some treatment plans may be short and simple, while others may involve more complex recommendations and time considerations.
Further information on treatment planning may be found by clicking here.