What exactly is Dr. Martin looking for when he is doing your oral examination?  There is an entire list of things he checks.  First, there is your medical history, which alerts him to past and present medical issues that may alter dental treatment and alert Dr. Martin to look for certain issues.  Medications that are being taken need to be accurately disclosed, along with reasons why they have been prescribed.

Your examination includes a thorough oral cancer screening.  Nearly 500,000 patients per year will be diagnosed with oral and oral pharyngeal cancer in the U.S.  Sadly, nearly two out of three of those diagnosed are already in advanced stages and the cancer has already spread into the lymphatic system, which makes treatment much more problematic and lowers the cure rate.  About 150,000 people die in our country each year from oral cancer.  Early detection is key to saving lives and disfigurement.  Only your dentist will do a thorough oral cancer exam, hopefully twice per year.

During your examination Dr. Martin will check your lips, oral mucosa, palate, both hard and soft, your tongue, salivary ducts and glands, your throat, tonsils, lymph nodes in your neck, and if visible your thyroid gland.  He will examine your occlusion, the way your teeth fit together, your temporomandibular joints (TMJ), your gums, looking for signs of gum disease.  Also he will look for any traumatic injuries to tissue or teeth, acute conditions, oral habits, and the condition of any crowns, bridges or dentures.  X-rays, photographs, CariVu images and visual inspection will help to identify cavities, cracks in teeth, erosion of tooth structure that will require restoration. Dr. Martin also will be able to identify teeth that will possibly need root canal treatment.

The appearance of your teeth will be evaluated for various cosmetic procedures that will improve your appearance.  These might include replacing fillings, making crowns or veneers, moving teeth by orthodontics and tooth whitening procedures.

Occasionally, we have patients who say “LET’S SKIP MY ORAL EXAM TODAY”. Is this really a decision that will benefit your physical and oral health?  The answer is NO!  Let’s work together to keep you as healthy as possible.  Remember to feel free to ask Dr. Martin about any questions or concerns that you may have during your oral examination.  Good communication is important and always encouraged.

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