Xrays help a conscientious , competent dentist detect, diagnose and plan treatments for problems that may exist long before they become visible to the naked eye.

The xrays are the dentist’s diagnostic tools that remain the property of the office as a record of the diagnosis and treatment of your teeth. When you pay for xrays, you are paying for the dentist’s interpretation and examination only.

That said however, if you decided to go to another dentist for a second opinion, you can request a copy of your radiographs. This way you will not have to have more xrays taken somewhere else, but you may however be charged a nominal fee for the copies. Any reputable dentists will make xrays available to another
dentists or specialist upon your request.

The dental examination is conducted with the eyes, fingers, instruments and other diagnostic aids. A competent dentists will check your head and neck areas for any signs of lumps, swelling or facial irregularites. He or she will palpate
your salivay glands areas and look for any signs of swelling in the thyroid gland.

He or she will then check both the hard tissues like the teeth and bone, as wel as the soft tissues like the (gums, tongue, cheeks, lips, floor of the mouth, soft and hard palate and throat (tonsillar areas ).

The jaw movements are evaluated and the occlusal (bite) relationship between the upper and lower teeth are noted. The degree of tooth mobility is recorded and the muscles of mastication are evaluated in conjunction with the TMJs functions.
(The temporomandibular jaw joints.)

Last but certainly not least , the presence or absence of any existing restorations in the teeth are noted and any dental prosthesis like a denture or partial dentureare evaluated.

Please remember that a oral exam is not complete until the xrays are available for comparison to the clinical findings.

A full mouth series of xrays and a Pan, should only be required approximately every five years on average. Routine bitewing radiographs are not necessary every six months. Specific xrays may be required when you have a specific dental issue.

There appears to be a trend towards an excessive use of xrays in many dental offices. .Watch out for this kind of abuse. ……….. Its just a money grab!

Your medical history taken by the dentists is paramount to gathering all of your information regarding your over all health status. The dentist does not want to make any treatment recommendations or prescribe any medications for you
that my be contraindicated and harmful to you.

A major responsibility of the dentist following his or her exam, is to tell you in clear terms what your oral status is and what might be expected if the treatment recommended is not done.

A competent dentist should always provide alternative treatments, if they are available as well as their costs. Sometimes the most ideal and desireable treatment my be beyond your budget but a less desireable, compromising (yet satisfactory treatment) may be decided apon and acceptable.

Such an extensive oral examination as describe above, is not necessary every time you go for a oral check up. Everyone , regardless of your oral hygiene, you still needs regular
checkups from time to time. Not everyone needs to go every 6 months but most people do.

Six month recall or annual appointments are not as costly or time consuming as the initial comprehensive exam discussed earlier. Your teeth and gum tissues do need to be checked on a regular basis by a dental professional.

A recall exam should include any changes in your medical history, the presence of early stages of Gum disease, hairline tooth fractures, eroded or cracked, broken fillings or teeth. Chronic infections, and any abnormal tissue changes that may be precancerous in nature are also looked for and noted.

Any cavities that may appear because they were undiagnosed on your first visit will be noted.This does and will happen occassionally. Depending on your need for dental work and the over all condition of your mouth when you had your initial exam. Even the most thorough dentist will miss a small cavity here or there sometime.

Usually a cleaning of your teeth will be equired on a recall examination and the application of a topical fluoried which is an excellent preventive measure for most dental patients.

A dental recall examination also serves as a opportunity for your dentists to re-evaluate your oral hygiene, personal care and hopefully give you good, helpful advice and answer any questions you may have regarding your oral health.

Do you like your dentist ? Do you feel confident that your dentist is caring and looking out for your welfare and not his or her own
pocket book ?

If you have any issues with your current dentist, I would be more than pleased to discuss them with you. I’m a good listener and I have your best interests at heart.

This is my last blog regarding the Dental Examination. I’ve attempted to make you aware of your rights as a dental patient and what kind of approach you might expect and deserve from a
a caring, kind, honest and competent dental professional.

Hopefully you will find my comments useful and helpful when you
evaluate and decide if your dentist is forthright and treating you and your family the way you deserve to be treated.

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