Examinations

The First Step

Your examination is an important first step in determining your dental health. During your exam, we will check for cavities, broken and cracked teeth, older restorations that may be cracked or worn out, gum disease, excessive build up of tartar, abscesses, unusual diseases of the mouth, unusual odor or bad breath, sores that could be injuries or cancer, unusual lumps in the mouth and neck, jaw joint problems, teeth that hit out of line, teeth that are crowded or in the wrong position, the fit of older dentures and partials, and finally, any issues of appearance that could be improved.

Your teeth and mouth are the port of entry for nutrition, the port of exit for communication, and the billboard of your health, self concern and personality.

I use many tools to examine your teeth & mouth.

  1. My fingers to feel for lumps and bumps, to check the fit of dentures and partials, and to check the movement of the jaw.
  2. My eyes with magnifying glasses to look visually along with the mouth mirror and tooth explorer.
  3. Dental radiographs that are sometimes called X-rays. Dental radiographs are extremely important because some diseases of the mouth can be found only with radiographs. Cavities that start between the teeth, abscesses in the bone, excessive tartar build up, and bone loss from gum disease, may not be visible by just looking. In addition, in each of these examples, you may not be feeling any discomfort at all.
  4. An intra oral camera that magnifies and shows your teeth on a T.V. monitor that both you and I can see.
  5. A gum measuring instrument to check for pocketing between the teeth and gum.
  6. Bite marking paper, (like the old fashioned copy paper), that shows where the teeth are hitting together.
  7. I might take impressions of your mouth, to make plaster models that I can study and take measurements.
  8. I might take digital photographs of your teeth, mouth, or smile that can be magnified or studied to see important details.
  9. I will ask questions about what you are feeling, and will carefully listen to your answers.

Show & Tell

I believe that you should clearly see and understand any problem that you were not aware of. I will use the intra oral camera or photographs to show you any visible cavities, cracked teeth, or broken fillings. I will show you on your radiographs any abscesses, cavities between the teeth, tartar build up, or bone loss. I will show you the models of your teeth if I need to explain any situation. I believe that together you and I should discover any problems you are having, and together consider options to treat the problem. I believe that a dentist who exams your teeth, and tells you what you have to do, without explaining or showing why is a thing of the past.

Treatment Planning

After you and I discover any problems you are having, we will discuss available options to treat your situation. I will discuss advantages and disadvantages of different treatment options if available, and I will discuss with you what I feel would be the most stable, durable and/or the best option. I will use models, photographs, and diagrams to help explain the treatment needed. I will print out your treatment plan, or there may be more than one treatment plan option for you to consider. The printed treatment plan will include dental codes, procedures, costs and insurance estimates if available. The printed treatment plans will be given to you for your study and review. After a plan of treatment is decided, we will set up the appropriate appointments.