The importance of sitting down alongside a trusted dental professional every so often is fundamental to ensuring the health and success of the smile. As life progresses, and the body ages, the smile becomes more and more vulnerable to develop complications. While there is a plethora of practices which best secure a smile’s health, such as an adequate at home oral care routine, regular dental exams are often recognized as the most significant!

Known as the epitome of preventative dentistry, regular evaluations and x-rays are vital to accurately identify issues and rectify them while the impact they pose on the health of your smile and wallet are minimal. 

A Typical Examination

Dental examinations typically occur alongside a scheduled teeth cleaning, and constitute the standard routine dental visit. During a dental exam, the professional will actively screen and search for complications such as gum disease, oral cancer, tooth decay, and inquire about any underlying medical conditions. While they also gain the opportunity to learn more about each patient’s unique lifestyle, as particular factors like dietary choices, tobacco usage, medications, and so much more will influence a patient’s smile.

Bone loss, periodontal (gum) disease, tooth decay, and other oral issues can be present, but pose no obvious signs or symptoms! To gain the upper hand, professionals will commonly utilize x-ray technology to gain a deeper look into the structure of the patient’s smile, catching any inconsistency not visible to the naked eye. 

Examinations also present the perfect environment for professionals to take the opportunity, if needed, to give patient’s a gentle briefing of the most effective tools and habits which contribute to a healthy smile. Such as twice daily brushing and flossing once as well, especially after meals!

Timespan and Frequency

The standard dental examination, alongside the routine cleaning that constitutes a checkup appointment, will usually last for around 45 minutes to an hour. Children often require a shorter appointment for obvious reasons, as a patients age, dental health, and participation in previous dental checkups will all play a role in deciding the time needed on behalf of the professional.

In terms of how often dental examinations are required, it’s dependent on the unique circumstances of each patient’s smile. Generally speaking, the typical professional will require each patient to participate in semiannual checkups, where the examination portion is usually only practiced in one of these per year. If patient’s have unique underlying conditions, or are prone to more issues for whatever reason, professionals may recommend they visit and are examined more frequently.

The Different Types of Exams

Each exam is unique in nature to best cater to the unique needs of each patient’s smile. Dependent on the issues or problems a patient experiences, dental professional’s will provide variations in their examination method. 

Comprehensive Exams

Completed during a patient’s initial checkup, and are repeated every few years on an occasional basis. These exams consist of a full mouth series of x rays, gum disease evaluation, TMJ exam, an oral cancer screening, thorough assessment of each tooth, and a detailed review of any underlying health problems. This allows dental professionals to establish a standard for each patient’s entire oral anatomy, allowing them to track their progression and keep a baseline of personal knowledge.

Recall Exams

Also referred to as regular exams, these types of evaluations are a standard and brief analysis preformed at alternating routine visits. They constitute simple yet sure fire preventive steps, such as checking the patient’s neck and jaw muscles, glancing throughout the jaw for disease and infection, and screening for any issues which may have developed since the prior exam.

Limited Exams

Performed for specific problems related to the teeth, these examinations are used to pinpoint specific problems being expressed by the patient. For instance, a patient coming in with a severe tooth ache, or a broken tooth, will have a dental professional perform a single x-ray and thoroughly evaluate the impacted area. It constitutes a more urgent manor, as the professional’s attention is focused towards rectifying an obvious issue and not screening for other problems which may still exist throughout the smile. 

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