What Happens During a Comprehensive Exam


When you don’t know what to expect from a comprehensive dental exam it can be a little scary coming in. We’re here to ease your fears, because going to the dentist shouldn’t be scary. Stepping into our dental office for a thorough exam is one of the best things you can do for your oral health. If you’re aware of what to expect, it makes the experience far less frightening.

What is a Comprehensive Exam?

A comprehensive exam helps us set the groundwork for all of your future dental care. When you come in for this exam, you are setting the foundation the rest of your dental treatments. Of course we’ll clean your teeth, but there’s more than that. 

The ADA identifies a comprehensive exam as an appointment where “dentists examine the teeth and gums, but they also look for lumps, swellings, discolorations, ulcerations — any abnormality.” During this time, they also can spot other problems that may serve as warnings for diseases elsewhere in the body. 

When you have a comprehensive exam, you’re helping your future self. Prevention and early detection leads to the best overall oral health for yourself. Knowledge is power, and we want to help you take control over your dental health.

What Does a Dentist Do?

To better understand what to expect from your dental exam, it helps to know what a dentist’s responsibilities can include. On average, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that most dentists:

  • Teach patients about the aspects of dental care, which can include diets, flossing, using fluoride, and more. 
  • Remove tooth decay and fill cavities 
  • Repair damaged teeth
  • Whiten teeth or use sealants
  • Use anesthetics to prevent patients from feeling pain during common dental procedures
  • Prescribe antibiotics and other needed medications for patients
  • Examine all aspects of the mouth: teeth, gums, jaw and nearby areas to diagnose problems surrounding them
  • Make models for dental appliances, like dentures or mouthguard

Our dentist use professional skill and judgment to give you the best dental care. With decades of experience, you’ll know that when you come in for your comprehensive dental exam you’re in the best possible hands. 

What to Expect During Your Dental Exam

You’ll be glad to know that most of the time, the comprehensive exam is pain-free. If we find that you require additional care, we will schedule you for a follow-up appointment. Don’t worry, you will be walked through every part of your exam. Our dentists and hygienists will talk over all you can expect while you’re sitting in one of our chairs. 

The comprehensive oral exam entails: 

  • Evaluating your dental and medical history, discussing concerns, and other aspects of your health
  • Assessing your overall health and oral hygiene habits, looking for your risk of decay or gum disease
  • Evaluate your need for tooth replacement and check for signs of cavities 
  • Check how well your teeth fit together by looking at your jaw and bite
  • Remove any stains or deposits on your teeth
  • Show you how to clean your teeth properly
  • Examine all restorations, which includes fixed and removable prostheses
  • Taking dental x-rays or other diagnostic procedures depending on the patient
  • Going over any questions, comments, or concerns for your dental healthcare
  • Discussing medications you are currently taking that might affect treatment and your managing your health
  • Checking the face, neck, and mouth for abnormalities, such as cancer
  • Consulting another health care professional for a second opinion if needed
  • Talking through the findings of your exam and recording findings in your dental record 

After the Appointment

When your comprehensive oral exam is complete, our team will talk with you about your oral health by going over everything they found during the exam. This includes your risk of tooth decay, gum disease, bone disease, and more. 

Our dentists will then recommend when you should follow up with us. If you’re considered high-risk for dental problems, we’ll recommend you come in more frequently. However, if you are low-risk, healthy, and don’t have any pain before your next appointment, we suggest you come by twice a year. 

You don’t need to wait and visit the dentist when something is wrong. By going in for preventative, comprehensive exams, you’ll be able to be diagnosed sooner if there are signs of problems showing up. 

Schedule an Appointment 

If you want to learn more about our comprehensive dental exam or any additional services we offer, call Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies to make an appointment today at (970)-223-6101. If you’re reading this after normal business hours, you can request an appointment online