The ADA defines a ‘comprehensive oral exam’ as “... an extensive evaluation and the recording of all extraoral, intraoral and soft tissues”.
The ADA defines a ‘periodic oral exam’ as “... an exam that is done on established patients to determine any changes in dental and health status since a previous comprehensive or periodic evaluation”.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends new patients have a comprehensive dental exam on their first visit and established patients undergo this exam every 3 years.
A comprehensive dental exam takes an entire appointment. Following is a general overview of what should be included in a comprehensive exam.
Areas to check:
- Periodontal exam (gum and bones supporting the teeth)
- Dental Exam (teeth)
- Head and Neck Cancer Exam (soft tissues of mouth, throat and surrounding structures)
- Occlusal Exam (Bite analysis)
- TMJ Exam (jaw joints)
- Radiographic Exam (x-rays and various scans)
- Salivary Function Exam (quantity and quality of saliva)
- Esthetic Exam (appearance of teeth and gums related to the face)
A comprehensive dental exam means no stone is left unturned and your dentist will know everything there is to know about your oral health. An exam is recommended before undergoing the following procedures:
- esthetic changes to your smile
- implants to replace lost teeth
- updating old dental restorations
- new dentures
- been diagnosed with a medical problem or disease