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Initial Examination/Dental Cleaning

At Dever Dental, our priority is ensuring that no dental condition goes undiagnosed. During an initial examination, we analyze every aspect of your systemic health, as well as your dental condition. We use both visual examination and radiographs, as needed, to make our final diagnoses.

Components to our initial examination include:

  1. Comprehesive discussion of current systemic health conditions, medications taken and allergies
  2. Documention of your current dental condition (present/missing teeth, number and location of dental fillings/crowns/root canals)
  3. Classification of your dental occlusion (or "bite")
  4. Comprehensive charting of the soft tissue/gingiva surrounding your teeth
  5. Detailed oral cancer screening
  6. Assess skeletal structure and bite abnormalities
  7. Assess the TMJ (temporomandibular joint) and oral/facial muscles for tension, tenderness or pain

Most often, patients call for a first visit requesting a dental cleaning. At your first visit we must determine the type of dental cleaning that you require. The comprehensive evaluation of the soft tissue provides the information needed to make that determination. This involves taking measurements of the 'gums' around each tooth and assessing the bone condition on dental x-rays. This will help us to understand whether the gums are affected by gingivitis or potentially by periodontal disease.

Periodontal Disease, or bone loss, is a problem that plagues a number of dental patients. This problem occurs when debris begins to build up under the gums on the roots of the teeth and inflammation occurs in the gums and bone that cause the bone to shrink away. If this debris is not removed, bone will continue to disappear and teeth may become noticeably looser or pain in the gums may be felt. Some patients may even note a malodor associated with their breath from the bacteria present in the debris under the gums. Occasionally, dental infections or abscesses of the gum tissue can occur.

If bone loss is noticed during this exam, we may recommended that you have a "deep cleaning", otherwise known as scaling and root planing. This is a cleaning that is generally done with the assistance of local anesthesia – numbing the area to be cleaned – so discomfort is not felt during the cleaning process. If the amount of bone loss is extensive, a referral may be made to a specialist, known as a periodontist, for more extensive care. Occasionally, if insufficient bone is present and teeth are very loose, it may be recommended that certain teeth be removed prior to proceeding with further dental care.

If it has been a long time since your last dental cleaning or you notice bleeding and pain from the gums, you likely have one of the above conditions. If fear is stopping you from pursuing your path to dental health, please consider our office for your care. We will do everything possible to ensure your absolute comfort. It brings us joy to help patients overcome any past negative experiences and return to complete dental health!