Initial Patient Exam
We offer a comprehensive oral examination that establishes a baseline for treatment concurrently educating the patient so that important decisions can be made for your dental treatment.
The exam comprises several segments:
~ Review of Medical History and the Patient’s Goals
~ Periodontal (Gums and Bones)
~ Oral Cancer Exam
~ Existing Dental Health
~ TMJ (Jaw Joint) Exam
~ Digital Radiography
~ Review Of Findings
Prior dental history is a very important aspect of a patient’s oral health. If previous x-rays are available they become part of your permanent dental record at our office and used to compare against the new set taken during the examination.
Review of Medical History and the Patient’s Goals ~ Most importantly, your immediate dental concerns will be discussed with Dr. Lyford; both your short term and long term oral health goals. We will “map” all of your existing teeth in concert with your dentistry. Every surface of every tooth and existing restoration will be carefully evaluated and noted.
Because many health problems relate and affect dental health it is equally important to review your overall medical history including all medications as well as herbal or homeopathic remedies you may be prescribed. Dr. Lyford will perform a thorough exam of the mouth which can reveal underlying systemic concerns. In the last twenty years Dr. Lyford has referred patients to their physicians for diagnoses such as high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disease, lymphoma, oral cancer, scleroderma, heart disease, and even pregnancy all based on a thorough examination.
Periodontal Exam ~ The foundation of a healthy mouth is the gums and the bone that support the teeth. We will carefully examine your mouth and chart gum recession, measure the gum attachment to each tooth, measure your plaque index, and look for signs of infection such as suppuration, swelling, redness, or bleeding. We will look for areas where there is food impaction as well as the mobility or looseness of any teeth. Your radiographic examination will also help us to evaluate your periodontal condition.
Oral Cancer Exam ~ An oral cancer exam only takes a few minutes and is an extremely important element not only in the determination of the patient’s current oral health but their overall physical health. Dr. Lyford performs this examination during the patient’s regular visits with the hygienist. Oral cancer is one of the most readily treatable forms of cancer if it is diagnosed in a timely fashion. In the last twenty years, Dr. Lyford has diagnosed more than thirty cases of oral cancer in the course of his practice all with successful outcomes.
Existing Dentistry ~ A meticulous exam of all of your existing fillings, crowns, bridgework, dentures, other dental materials and natural teeth will be performed. Magnification is used so not to miss any fractures, cracked teeth or deterioration. Occasionally we use intraoral cameras to record significant areas of concern. We will also evaluate the esthetics of your smile and color of your teeth. Again, careful recording of all aspects of your existing dentistry will be compiled. Sometimes diagnostic models will be required to accurately and completely record significant findings.
TMJ Exam ~ A thorough examination of your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) health will include measuring your range of opening, listening to jaw joint noises if any, charting wear facets on teeth, evaluating types of gum recession and tooth notching, and palpating the muscles that open and close your jaw. Measuring any discrepancies in your bite will be important to establish a baseline.
As significant for evaluating and achieving a thorough TMJ exam is headache history, any past head and neck trauma (such as whiplash), and determination of clenching or grinding at night.
Digital Radiography ~ we utilize individual intraoral films (taken inside the mouth to identify problems with individual teeth, decay, root, bone); Cone Beam with lowest exposure in the industry to obtain 3D images, especially important for implant dentistry and diagnosing fractured teeth, airways, impacted teeth, development of the jaw in relation to the teeth, TMJ, and other bones of the face as well.
Review of Findings ~ Throughout the exam you will hear dental terminology that is entered in your permanent record and may wonder, how will I understand all this? However, Dr. Lyford will meet with you to review all aspects of your oral health in simple terms, outline your needs, and create a treatment plan that meets all your goals.
Our office is committed to provide high quality dental care that you deserve in a relaxed environment. This is precisely why the New Patient Examination is so important as it allows us to become acquainted with you and formulate an educated treatment plan addressing your specific dental needs.