Your oral health is our top priority! Oral exams include more than just your teeth, but your gums, tongue, lips, throat, and jaw as well. At our family dentistry in Cary, a comprehensive oral exam is an extensive evaluation that gives both you and your dentist important information about your teeth and gums. At our office, this evaluation is more thorough than a routine cleaning.
Not every dental check-up is a comprehensive oral exam. It is important to have documentation of your oral health so we can track changes over time. Comprehensive oral exams include a thorough cleaning, gum evaluation, bite evaluation, fluoride treatment, oral cancer screening, intra-oral camera photos, and digital x-rays.
During your exam, we will examine your teeth and tooth surfaces for signs of decay, cracks or other problems. Likewise, we perform a gum evaluation checking both your gums and the bone around your teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
With every comprehensive oral exam, we perform an oral cancer screening – you will have your face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues and gums examined for any signs of abnormalities. We also take and examine x-rays to find signs of decay, tumors, cysts and/or bone loss. X-rays help us determine tooth and root positions, giving us an in-depth look at the structure of your mouth and a comprehensive view of your oral health. Although oral cancer screenings can seem unnecessary to some patients, it’s important to remember how these sort of screenings can save lives. This year, an estimated 53,000 adults (38,140 men and 14,860 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with oral and oropharyngeal cancer. As with any form of cancer, early diagnosis is the key.
Because this type of exam is more involved than a regular dental cleaning, you can expect the comprehensive exam to take a bit longer than a routine appointment. These appointments typically last around an hour and a half.
A comprehensive oral exam is recommended if there has been an interruption in your routine of dental care or if you’ve had significant changes in your health. Comprehensive oral exams are recommended for all patients every 3-5 years. This allows us to catch minor issues before they develop into major dental problems.
If you are new to our office, we want to welcome you with the best care possible. This means we typically start with a comprehensive oral exam.