What to Expect During a Comprehensive Dental Exam

Comprehensive Dental ExamThe foundation of all good dental treatment is a thorough comprehensive dental exam. This is where your dentist lays the groundwork for all future care and recommendations and is able to get an up-close view of your teeth, gums and mouth. Comprehensive dental exams entail far more than just cleaning your teeth. The American Dental Association defines a comprehensive oral exam as an “extensive evaluation and the recording of all extraoral, intraoral and soft tissues”.


Taking Charge of Your Oral Health

At Family and Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies, we believe that patients can stay on the path to excellent oral health and wellness through established prevention techniques and appropriate patient education. The first part of putting you on this oral wellness path is through a comprehensive dental exam.  These exams are given so we can plan out your future care and make recommendations for what you need right now.  The more information your dentist has about you and your needs, the better he can treat you and help you.


The American Dental Association recommends a comprehensive dental exam for all patients every three years starting at age two. (The frequency of these comprehensive exams may increase if we find that you are at higher risk for certain conditions or diseases based on our initial comprehensive dental exam findings.) The driving force behind these comprehensive dental exams are the diseases and conditions that can be prevented or diagnosed by having the examinations.


Your oral health affects your total body health and vice versa.  Poor oral health has been linked to diabetes, systemic disorders, high blood pressure, oral cancer, gum and bone disease, deteriorating cardiovascular health and sinus problems.  Through a proper evaluation of your teeth, gums, jaw, and surrounding tissues your dentist can reduce your likelihood for conditions that can endanger your overall health.  


What is Included in a Comprehensive Dental Exam?

It is important to note that nothing ever occurs during a comprehensive dental exam that you haven’t first been educated on and agreed to do. We want you to be part of the process, understand what is needed and why.  Our dentists and/or hygienists take the time to make sure you are comfortable and know what is going on at all times. Typically, a comprehensive dental exam will include the following:


  • Dental Evaluation. Your dental and medical history, concerns, background and diet will be discussed.
  • Dental Health Assessment. Your overall dental health, oral hygiene, risks for tooth or root decay, gum or bone disease will be assessed.
  • Cavity Check. Possible cavities and/or your need for tooth replacement will be checked.
  • Bite and Jaw Examination. We will assess how your teeth fit together by examining your bite and jaw.
  • Teeth Cleaning and Stains Removal. We will remove any stains or deposits on your teeth and thoroughly clean them.
  • Lesson on Oral Hygiene. We will make sure you understand the proper cleaning techniques for your teeth by giving you thorough oral hygiene instructions.
  • Restoration Examination.  All restorations, including fixed and removable prostheses will be checked.
  • Dental X-rays. Our staff will take dental x-rays or conduct other diagnostic procedures such as radiographs or other images depending on your needs.
  • Oral Cancer Screening. An oral cancer screening will be performed to check your face, neck and mouth for abnormalities.
  • Medications Review. We will discuss any medications you are currently taking that can impact your prognosis, progression and management of your oral health.
  • Patient/Doctor Interview.  We like to take the time to discuss your complaints, concerns and treatment expectations and review any of our findings and observations from the comprehensive exam.  All findings and information will be recorded in your dental record


One of the most important parts of the comprehensive dental exam is your patient/doctor interview when your dentist (and sometimes hygienist too) will discuss with you your current oral health, including your risk of tooth decay, gum disease and any other oral health problems that they may have seen. At this time, we will give you our recommendations for prevention and early detection tips you can practice at home for optimal oral health, including oral hygiene instructions and other helpful tools.


Schedule Your Comprehensive Dental Exam Today

If you’d like to know more about our comprehensive dental exam, or any of the other services we provide, call Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies today at (970) 223-6101. If you need to reach us after regular business hours, you can also send a contact or appointment request online (below) at your convenience.