The comprehensive dental examination is often regarded with fear.
What will the dentist do? What will they find? Can I afford the treatment?
These are some of the dreaded questions patients ask when they come to the dentist on that first visit.
In this issue, we will discuss the importance of a first-class dental examination. The best dental exam should uncover an accurate diagnosis and give the best opportunity to a successful treatment.
The best dental exam should not only be focused on a single tooth, but rather the exam should be comprehensive and holistic so your dentist can prepare a proper treatment plan. This plan, serves your best overall interest. A good plan saves money and preserves your dental and medical health.
At Center for Specialized Dentistry, I often see advanced and debilitating diseases. Patients are often anxious, frustrated and uninspired about their dental condition. It is important that in correcting their ailments the dental team gets it right the first time.
What you should expect from your first-class dental examination?
- A focus on your chief concern and a discussion of your concerns will be addressed.
- A gum (periodontal) examination including measurement of pocket depths to determine the amount of bone support, gum recession, gum thickness and tooth mobility. A complete dental examination investigates teeth decay, broken fillings, silver fillings, worn fillings, leaky or broken crowns, teeth abrasion at gum line, etc.
- Full mouth X-rays. This may involve a Panoramic, full mouth series, bitewings, CT-Scan or a combination of them. In emergency cases a single x-ray may be taken along with a Limited Exam.
The three (3) focus areas above should set the stage for a great examination.
Other areas of focus for a thorough exam may cover the following:
- Examination of the bite relationship of your teeth, missing teeth, teeth alignment, soft tissue evaluation
- Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ), tonsillar areas, muscle assessment
- C T Scan- a 3D image used to investigate a little deeper; like Implants, tumors, bone defects, impactions, major infections, orthodontics, fractures and foreign bodies
- Study models or digital teeth and soft tissue scan for treatment planning, and braces
- Pictures of teeth gums and soft tissues- great to show patients and see before/after results
You would see from this list the importance of a treatment plan. A good plan is the key to your success. It sets goals that gets to the end-game over a period of time. Remember, a proper dental plan saves money and preserves your dental health.
Overall, the experience should be a pleasant one. When you leave the office, you should be well informed, educated and presented with alternative choices to make an informed decision. If you need further clarity then a second opinion may be your choice to make.
Dr. Kendal V. O. Major is Founder and CEO of Center for Specialized Dentistry which is a comprehensive family dental practice operating in Nassau and Freeport. He is the first Bahamian Specialist in Gum Diseases and Dental Implants since 1989. He holds Mastership as a Certified Fast Braces Provider. His practice is located at 89 Collins Avenue, Nassau at (242)325-5165 or [email protected].