What To Expect During Your First Oral Exam

One common question we get from new patients at Shore Family Dentistry is what we cover during their first oral exam.

Though you may have a general idea based on your past dental visits, we’re happy to share our process. We find that it helps those who are new to our practice feel more at ease.

The First Oral Exam Sets Us Up For Success

With your first oral exam, we have the opportunity to understand your oral health and establish a baseline for your future care. This includes all the essential information on your dental habits, your interests, and your needs.

This oral exam process begins with a thorough review of your medical and dental histories. We’ll be sure to note any symptoms or pains you’re currently feeling, as well as more overarching dental concerns you may have.

We’ll follow this first consultation with a clinical examination. This includes screening for oral cancer, a periodontal evaluation, and a bite/occlusion analysis. When necessary, we will recommend and take diagnostic films.

Though our smile can be the most visible representative of our oral health, it’s important to fully understand the whole mouth. In doing so, we’ll examine your teeth as well as the supporting bone and soft tissues in the surrounding areas (mouth, head, neck).

Should we find signs of clenching or grinding of your teeth, we’ll make a note and assess your TMJ (temporomandibular joint) function. 

This type of thorough oral exam is also beneficial in revealing how what’s going on in your life is affecting your smile. This can include the consequences of your oral hygiene practices, medications, dietary choices, eating disorders, and more. 

From the results of this first oral exam and the diagnostic film, we can then outline any further treatment – if it’s necessary – and discuss your care options. At the office of Shore Family Dentistry, we’re driven by providing all of our patients with the benefits of a healthy, radiant smile.

How Oral Exams Lead To Healthy Smiles And Happy Patients

Here at Shore Family Dentistry, we want all of our patients to be happy with the smile they see in the mirror each morning. For us, a healthy, bright smile is more than just beautiful; it’s necessary to our well-being.

That’s because the harmful conditions that might affect our mouths can have a negative impact on our overall health. This includes oral diseases that affect our teeth, gums, jaws, and bone structure around the oral cavity.

By performing this oral exam, we have the opportunity to check regularly for common dental conditions. In addition to gum disease and tooth decay, we also screen for oral cancer. Our thorough oral exams can also reveal signs of health issues that may have come from somewhere else in the body.

More and more, modern science is finding connections between poor oral health and diseases that affect other parts of the body. Of the conditions dental disease can contribute to, the following have been supported by increasing evidence:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Digestive disorders
  • Respiratory Problems
  • Stroke

Given that your body is one interconnected system, the opposite can also be true, too. Like our oral health problems may lead to these whole body, systemic diseases, those same diseases can end up affecting our oral health.

Recent studies have shown that more than 90% of all systemic diseases – those conditions that affect our organs or other bodily systems – can affect the oral cavity. Of those signs and symptoms, dry mouth, bad breath, gum problems, and ulcerations can indicate separate medical conditions.

Why Oral Exams And Routine Checkups Are Essential

A nice-looking, healthy smile doesn’t happen by accident. Though some of us may have genes that have led to straighter teeth, the truth is that over time, oral hygiene requires healthy habits.

There are a few steps to making sure your oral health is at its best and your smile its brightest. That includes a regular dental hygiene routine, a nutritious diet, regular oral exams, professional cleanings, and a thorough plan for preventive care.

Though dentists can help you figure out why your teeth or mouth are in pain, you shouldn’t wait until there’s something wrong to see them. When you schedule routine appointments, we can offer the type of preventive care that keeps that pain from happening in the first place.

Our rule of thumb for our patients is to visit our office two times a year for their routine checkups and professional cleanings. With these regular visits, we can stay up to date with your oral health, reduce the risk of any diseases, and find potential issues early when they are easier to treat.

We also advocate for keeping your teeth and gums clean at home. Still, for even the most committed brushers, flossers, and waterpickers, getting to every nook and cranny of your mouth is a challenge.

With twice-yearly visits and professional teeth cleanings, we can work together. Our hygienist assists by removing the accumulated plaque and tartar that builds up between the teeth and gums. What makes professional teeth cleanings so helpful is that they can get to those hard-to-reach areas you might have missed. 

This is important because dental plaque houses the bacteria ultimately responsible for cavities and gum disease. The longer it sticks around, the more prone we are to those conditions. But when we can act fast and remove it, we can prevent those disease processes from happening at all. 

After a professional teeth cleaning, we provide a polish to remove superficial stains from the surface of your teeth, leaving your mouth clean and your smile bright.

Regular checkups and cleaning are also a great time to get the latest on best oral hygiene practices. Whether it’s a refresher on proper techniques for brushing and flossing or a new instrument our team is using, we share healthy oral care practices with you.

While we advocate for proper dental care for our patients of all ages, we make a special note of welcoming younger patients to the practice. Because of how connected our oral health and body health are, it’s important for our children to build a strong foundation of oral hygiene. 

In addition to oral exams, we provide kids with routine checkups, preventive treatments, and age-appropriate education. When they know the steps to take care of their teeth, and with your and our help, we can keep their smiles safe. 

As your children grow, we will also monitor your children’s dental and jaw development. This will allow us to determine if orthodontic intervention is necessary to help align their smiles.

Booking Oral Exams With Shore Family Dentistry

At Shore Family Dentistry, our priority is to help your family build oral hygiene practices that will keep you healthy for a lifetime. 

Our team of health professionals endeavors to make each office visit a positive experience, providing skilled and compassionate care to families in Columbia, MD. For more information, including scheduling a visit, we encourage you to get in touch with Shore Family Dentistry today.

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