The Components of a Good Dental Examination, Part 1

In this multipart series, I’ll write about the different parts of the dental examination and why they are important to me, and ultimately, you. 

  1. Thorough medical history–Why do I need to know about your medical history?  My concerns in the medical history are the following:
  1. What medications are you taking that may influence your dental or periodontal condition?  There are over 500 medications that cause dry mouth which often results in tooth decay. There are some blood pressure medications that may cause your gums to swell. Those are only two examples. There are a lot more. 
  2. Procedures such as heart valve transplants and hip and joint implants may influence whether you should have antibiotics before receiving dental care.
  3. Other medical problems may influence the best time of the day for treatment for you, the degree of care that you need during a dental or surgical procedure, the status of periodontal disease if you are a diabetic, the influence of an accident on your dental and/or jaw musculature condition. These are only a few.
  1. Full mouth series of x-rays. Here’s what I diagnose from dental x-rays; cavities, bone loss, dental infections. 
  2. Why the CT-Scan? I can see more dental abscesses on a CT than on a conventional x-ray. We commonly find dental infections that cause sinus infections.  I can see the bone in three dimensions and see where implants can be best positioned.  I can’t tell you how many times a patient has told me that he/she was told that there was not enough bone for dental implants when, in fact, there was. The CT allows us to do “virtual surgery” before we do it in your mouth.

Coming next month–The Clinical Examination 

Lee N. Sheldon, DMD

The Components of a Good Dental Examination, Part 2

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