Dental Examination - Chez Soie Dentisterie / Formerly Marcotte médecine dentaire
Dental Examination

Dental Examination

08 - L’examen dentaireDental Examination

A dental exam is an essential exercise for maintaining your oral health – and only your dentist can perform it.

Part of the exam involves the dentist looking inside your mouth. In the past, you may not have realized that a test was taking place. Perhaps you thought the dentist was simply checking on the work done by the hygienist.

No way. In reality, the dentist looks in your mouth to see things that can impact your oral health – and your health in general. These are often things that you cannot see yourself, but that your dentist can detect through training. Here’s basically what the exam your dentist does in your mouth covers:

  • damaged, missing or decayed teeth
  • early signs of decay
  • the condition of your gums such as the depth of periodontal pockets, inflammation or any other signs of gum disease (which can lead to tooth or bone loss)
  • whether previous dental work, such as root canals, fillings and crowns, is still in good condition
  • early signs of mouth and throat cancer, such as white lesions or blocked salivary glands
  • any other suspicious growths or cysts
  • the position of your teeth (e.g., spaces between them, occlusion)
  • signs that you are grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw muscles (a correctable problem that can cause headaches or jaw pain and can, when severe, lead to hearing or tooth loss )
  • signs of bleeding or inflammation on your tongue, roof of your mouth, or floor of your mouth
  • the general health and functions of your temporomandibular joint (which joins your jaw to your skull), checking for signs of conditions that may cause pain or tenderness
  • the general condition of the bones in your face, jaw and around your mouth

A dental exam helps detect problems early – before you can see or feel them – when it is much easier and much less expensive to treat them.

In addition to visual inspection of your mouth, the exam includes:

  • summarizing your medical history, so that the dentist is aware of your state of health and of any conditions that could affect the success of dental treatments or procedures or that could be associated with oral health problems.

The exam may also include:

  • an examination of your neck area, with the dentist feeling the glands and lymph nodes for possible signs of inflammation that may indicate general health problems; And
  • X-rays if necessary. X-rays can reveal problems such as cavities under existing fillings, impacted wisdom teeth, cavities under the marginal gum line, and bone loss caused by gum disease.

Your dentist will likely explain to you what happens during the exam and provide you with a report of the results. If not, be sure to question it. As a patient, you are an equal partner in your dental care.

Points to check

What you should tell your dentist

The more your dentist knows about your overall health, the more effectively he or she can address your oral health needs. Be sure to mention the following points:

  1. any new medical condition that has been diagnosed since your last visit, such as diabetes or AIDS, even if it does not seem relevant – your dentist needs to know to properly manage your treatments and prevention program
  2. any new medications you are taking (side effects often include dry mouth and enlarged gums)
  3. if you are pregnant
  4. if you have allergies
  5. any changes you have noticed about your teeth, such as their color, looseness, or position
  6. any changes you have noticed in the condition of your gums, such as bleeding when you brush or floss or changes in their appearance
  7. any increased sensitivity to heat, cold, or sugary foods
  8. if there are rough spots where the floss catches and frays
  9. any changes in the color of your skin inside your mouth
  10. if you smoke or chew tobacco (which increases the risk of oral cancer)
  11. if your neck or jaw muscles are tight or you are aware that you are grinding or clenching your teeth
  12. if you’re nervous about dental appointments – new methods are making modern dentistry more comfortable for patients, and talking to your dentist can reassure you and help you relax