At your first dental visit a complete dental exam will be performed by your dentist, usually aided by a dental hygienist. At that time, and at future dental exams, your dentist and hygienist will complete:
- Gum disease evaluation: This is achieved by both direct visualization and measurement of the height of the gums and amount of bone around your teeth. The results of these measurements will indicate to the dental team either a state of gum health or periodontal (gum) disease.
- Examination of tooth surfaces: Smooth surfaces of teeth can be assessed using dental tactile instruments and visualization to identify decay or other abnormalities. Dentists are unable to see between teeth that are in close contact with each other without the use of dental x-rays.
- Examination of existing restorations: The dental team will check your previous restorations (fillings, crowns, etc) for signs of wear and failure. If a problem is found through a regular check-up, then early intervention is an option.
- Diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): When required, extremely low-dose radiographs are taken to identify early tooth decay, cracks, infection, the amount of supporting bone around the teeth, tooth position, and, on occasion, tumours, cysts, and other diseases.
- Oral pathology and oral cancer screening: At every exam, your hygienist and dentist are on the look-out for any signs of abnormality extraorally (neck and facial appearances), as well as intraorally, including, on your lips, tongue, inner cheeks, throat, roof of your mouth and gum tissue.