Many patients believe that each time they come in for their hygiene maintenance appointment, a complete examination of their mouth is performed. While we do look around the whole mouth, at the gums, teeth and a brief oral cancer screening; it’s mostly obvious signs of problems and earlier concerns that we find and follow up on.
The complete oral exam (COE) is a much more in depth examination and allows for a much more accurate assessment of your oral health.
During the COE we specifically examine every aspect of every tooth, the gums and bone around each tooth, the characteristics of your bite and if any changes are occurring. We also perform a more thorough oral cancer, head and neck exam. In addition to the examination of your mouth a COE includes x- rays to allow a proper, complete assessment of your oral health.
A COE is done for all new patients to the office and for current patients every 5 years unless there is a significant change that needs to be investigated further. Patients under the age of 20 years will receive a COE, although it is typically much less involved.
Why Should I Have A Complete Exam?
Especially for new patients, the COE is our opportunity to really get to know your mouth, and more importantly to get to know you. We want to understand what your goals are for your smile and overall health, so that we can achieve them together. It’s the COE that allows us to form a strategy to help keep your teeth strong and healthy for life. The strategy helps us prioritize more urgent treatment and helps us map out a long term vision for success.
As we all age, changes occur. A lot can happen in a 5 year period, and it’s important to fully examine your teeth, document any changes that have occurred and decide what action is required.
Your 5 year COE is designed to find and address problems early while they are more manageable or at least determine when they will need to be addressed. This is one of the most critical ways to keep your teeth problem free and allow you to eat and smile with confidence.