How does your dentist know what you need? The dental examination forms the foundation for treatment decisions that can affect your mouth for the rest of your life. The exam must be thorough and complete. Your dentist collects detailed information about your mouth in many ways, each of them critically important.
The information you provide about your overall health—as well as details about previous dental treatment and experiences—provides your dentist with an informed starting point when gathering information about you. Systemic diseases and some medications can make dental problems more likely, and successes (and failures) of past treatments are important clues about your unique situation.
Complete radiographs (or X-rays) provide information that cannot be seen when your dentist looks in your mouth. Photographs and models of your teeth allow your dentist to evaluate your teeth from every angle.
The part of the dental exam where your “teeth are checked” actually is much, much more. Your dentist will make measurements of gum health, check teeth and fillings for
disease and weakness, look for worn teeth, evaluate muscle and jaw joint function, and look for oral cancer.
Your dentist considers all of this evidence when making a diagnosis for your mouth. Once the diagnosis is made, they can recommend the best course of dental treatment for you.