During your first visit, a throughout examination will be performed. First, one of the assistants will take x-rays of each tooth and a panoramic radiograph if needed. Second, the hygienist will perform a full periodontal assessment of your teeth and gums. The hygienist will then communicate to the dentist all findings and observations. The dentist will perform a complete oral exam, including an oral cancer screening. The dentist will then use all of the information to formulate a comprehensive treatment plan. During the examination, the patient may ask the doctor any questions or concerns.
There are 3 types of dental examinations:
An initial comprehensive exam: This exam includes an examination and analysis of every tooth, gums, bone, and all tissues around the oral cavity. During this visit, the dentist formulates a treatment plan which includes complete rehabilitation of the mouth. Full mouth and panoramic x-rays are usually taken during this visit.
A periodic exam: This type of dental exam is done every 6 months once the patient is in good oral health and keeps coming back to the office for check ups, maintenance, and cleanings. Usually 4 x-rays are taken during these visits.
An emergency or limited exam: This exam is done when patients have pain and need urgent care. This exam focuses only on the problem at hand and may include tooth pain, gum problems, etc. This exam usually includes a single x-ray of the area affected.