What Do We Look for During an Oral Exam?

What Do We Look for During an Oral Exam?

When you come in for a routine dental cleaning, you receive much more than cleaning, polishing, and flossing. Your dentist provides a thorough exam to ensure your whole mouth is healthy.

This professional oral exam is a way for our expert team at The Masters Dental Group in San Antonio, Texas, to monitor for any red flags and initiate any treatments necessary to boost your oral health. Here’s what we look for during your oral exam.

Decay or damage 

Tooth decay is one of the most common problems detected during an oral exam. A cavity might look like a brown, discolored spot on your tooth. However, some cavities are very small or are tucked between two teeth. These cavities can be detected with an X-ray. Getting a cavity filled promptly helps you avoid unwanted complications. 

We also examine each tooth for any signs of damage. Cracks or chips can allow bacteria to enter your tooth and cause problems.

Signs of gum disease

Gum disease can lead to tooth loss if it’s not caught and treated promptly. We monitor for all signs of gum disease, including the earliest form of gum disease: gingivitis, which causes tender, bleeding gums. More advanced forms of gum disease may cause recessed gums, large pockets at the base of your teeth, bad breath, and loose teeth.

Jaw issues

Jaw issues can arise from bruxism (teeth grinding), malocclusion (when your teeth are misaligned), or even a tooth infection. We examine your jaw and make sure your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is moving easily. If you have any jaw discomfort, don’t hesitate to discuss it during your routine exam.

Bite problems

An improper bite can increase your risk of excessive wear-and-tear on your teeth. Depending on which type of malocclusion you have, it can also make it difficult for you to eat comfortably, speak clearly, or feel confident in your smile.

Suspicious bumps or lesions

We examine your entire oral cavity — including your lips, tongue, and cheeks — for any suspicious bumps or lesions. Oral cancer can appear as white patches in your mouth, sores that just don’t heal, or small bumps. Because these symptoms can also point to other conditions, it’s important for us to review any new changes to your mouth and stay on top of your oral health.

Problem areas

During your oral exam, we also look for any problem areas you may have. For example, if plaque or tartar is building up in a specific area in your mouth, we can suggest modifications to your at-home oral care routine to address this so your mouth stays healthier between dental office visits. 

After your oral exam

After your exam, which may include dental X-rays, we commence with a routine dental cleaning. You can expect: 

During this time, feel free to ask questions about your oral health, address any concerns you have, or explore the potential for cosmetic treatments, such as veneers.

When you’re ready to schedule your routine teeth cleaning and oral exam, call our San Antonio office at 210-349-4424.

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