Dr. Matt here, Why a comprehensive (thorough) examination? We set up this kind of an appointment for a new patient experience or an existing patient who hasn’t been into the office in five years. Why? Why all the attention to the whole body? What we have found is that the dental examination can reveal early signs of undiagnosed systemic disease processes. People see their Dentist more than their primary care Physician. Examples of thorough exam findings include glycemic issues, hormone level symptoms, cardiovascular problems, clues to autoimmune disease, infections, acid-reflux, cancer signs , skeletal-integrity, skin problems, muscle pain and nerve problems.
A review of a health history including current medications, habits, diagnosed problems and allergies is necessary. From the first moment we see you we are recording and computing in our brain everything that is being observed. Initial findings gate, respiration, flexibility, presence can be important and are part of the final analysis and treatment plan. An example would be the “pill rolling movement between a patient’s thumb and forefinger”, a symptom of Parkinson’s disease. We will take your blood pressure if you don’t know it.
We take pictures. Photographs, both intra and extra oral are very useful. In addition to photos Radiography is important and only the necessary images (x-rays) will be taken. We don’t want to overexpose, be redundant, or fail to gain adequate information. We aim to minimize the exposure to the minimal that is needed for treatment. Sometimes diagnostic casts of the teeth may be done as well.
A thorough examination of the head and neck (measured, palpated, auscultated) and a health history evaluation of the organ systems are prudent. People say, “But it is just a dental appointment. Do I have cavities or not? I have dental insurance. Doc I just want air in my tire that is low not a new transmission”.
A dental Hygienist will do a periodontal examination including a full charting of the gums and teeth. They diagnose and come up with a way to get you back to oral health.
Why a comprehensive examination? It is necessary to determine your current base line and develop a treatment course that is appropriate for you. Funny thing, I have put air in my own tire and noticed missing or loose lug nuts, lack of tread, tears in the sidewalls, rust in the quarter panel, and torn metal in the wheel well.
Dental treatment affects your whole body. Your body has a balance. Your body must be able to adapt to the changes. These are the reasons for a thorough (comprehensive) examination. GET ONE
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