What is a Complete Oral Exam?

What is a Complete Oral Exam?

Complete / Comprehensive Oral Exam

A complete oral exam is a dental exam completed at the first visit to a dental office and every few years afterward to obtain all relevant information to make a proper diagnosis for teeth, gums and overall health. A complete oral exam takes longer to complete than a regular check-up exam, given the amount of information gathered and documented during the exam. A comprehensive oral exam is recommended every 3-5 years to verify all charting and diagnoses are current and up to date. Between complete oral exams, check up exams called “recall exams” are completed to address any concerns and examine the teeth and gums. Recall exams are great for addressing concerns and making diagnoses but have limitations compared to complete oral exams.

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During a complete oral exam, you can expect some, or all, of the following as part of the appointment:
– Create a new medical history, document any medical conditions, medications, allergies, past surgeries, etc.
– Examination of the head and neck to check tissues and lymph nodes
– Examination of the jaw joint and assess for any clenching/grinding or wear to the teeth
– Create/update odontogram charting. Charting of any missing teeth, fillings, crowns, veneers, bridges, implants, chips, fractures and cavities
– Create/update periodontal charting. Periodontal charting is a measurement of the gum attachment for each tooth, indicating any areas of gum disease
– X-rays (if needed) to assess the health of the teeth and bone support
– Assessment of oral tissues and diagnosis of gum health
– Oral cancer screening
– Diagnosis of cavities or need for restorative work
– Possible referrals to specialists such as orthodontist for aligning teeth, periodontist for any gum concerns, endodontist for root canals or oral surgery for removal of teeth
– Assessment of how previous dental work is doing
– Any concerns to be addressed
– Recommendations for an at home oral health regimen
– A custom treatment plan formed based on diagnoses and individual needs

If you believe you may be due for a complete oral exam or have any questions about them, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Learn How To Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Learn How To Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

What is bottle decay?

Cavities found on the upper, front teeth in small children are commonly known as bottle decay, nursing caries, early childhood caries or baby bottle mouth. The cavities are localized to the upper front teeth because when a baby drinks from a bottle or nipple, their tongue covers the lower teeth, protecting them. These cavities often develop before the molars erupt.

How do babies get cavities?

Like adult cavities, bottle decay is caused by a combination of bacteria + carbohydrates + susceptible tooth surfaces. When we ingest carbohydrates, such as the natural sugars found in milk, they can be used by cavity-causing bacteria to grow. This bacteria then creates plaque, which is acidic. When this acid is allowed to sit on the teeth undisturbed, it starts to break down the protective enamel layer. When this reaction often happens, such as with a nightly bottle before sleep, the enamel decays and a cavity develops. Our mouths do have some self-cleaning tricks, such as producing watery saliva, however, when we fall asleep, this saliva production slows down and if proper brushing is not done, the acidic plaque is allowed to sit on the teeth for a long period.

baby bottle tooth decay

How can I prevent decay in my children’s teeth?

Children should always go to bed with a clean mouth. This starts with wiping the teeth and gums with a wet cloth after nursing or bottles. Once the molars erupt, a soft toothbrush should be used at least twice a day to remove plaque.

The current guidelines from The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry note that fluoride toothpaste can start being used as soon as teeth erupt. For children under the age of 3, it is recommended to use a small “smear” amount of toothpaste, with adult assistance. Fluoride is the only substance that can help “heal” acid damage, otherwise called “demineralization.”

When parents are brushing children’s teeth they should lift the upper lip to ensure the toothbrush is removing all of the plaque, especially along the gum line where it tends to collect.

Children should only have water in bed with them as it does not contain carbohydrates. Night nursing, especially on-demand nursing should be reduced as early as possible to minimize cavity risk. Breast milk on its own has not been proven to cause cavities. However, if there is plaque is present on the teeth, and then breast milk is allowed to sit on the tooth surface as well, this can cause cavities over time. Increased frequency of feedings also increases the risk of cavities.

Children can start to develop cavities as soon as their teeth erupt; this is why every child should be assessed by a dentist within six months of their first tooth erupting. Dental professionals may be able to diagnose early signs of cavities and provide solutions to reduce the risk or slow the progression. Contact us if you have any questions, or would like to schedule a consultation or dental visit.

Learn About Different Tooth Cleaning Aids

Learn About Different Tooth Cleaning Aids

Learn About Different Tooth Cleaning Aids

We are long past the time of using just a toothbrush and toothpaste at home to keep your teeth clean. Now, on the market, there are products geared to help clean anything from braces to dental implants. It is essential to make sure you choose the correct products to optimize your oral health and clean adequately between dental visits. Below is a list of several common products and what to use them for:


Everybody has used a toothbrush, as it’s an essential tool to keep your teeth clean. Tooth brushing is recommended for everyone with one or more teeth, at least twice a day for 2 minutes. Toothbrushes can be split into two categories, manual and electric. Manual toothbrushes come in super soft, soft, medium and hard. Super soft toothbrushes are great for people with recession to preserve the gum line. Soft toothbrushes are most commonly recommended. Medium and hard toothbrushes are generally thought to be too abrasive on the gums and are rarely recommended. Electric toothbrushes either oscillate or sweep back and forth depending on the brand and are a beneficial alternative.


The most crucial factor in choosing a toothpaste is the inclusion of fluoride in the ingredient list. Fluoride is an ingredient that prevents and halts cavities. Most toothpaste will include fluoride unless otherwise stated. Toothpaste can be geared toward antiplaque, gum health and even stain fighting. Talk with your dentist or dental hygienist about what toothpaste is recommended for you.

dental floss cleaning aid

Dental Floss

Dental floss is used to clean the in-between surfaces of teeth. Dental floss is sold as waxed or non-waxed. Waxed dental floss is ideal for tight contacts and areas where the floss may shred. Flossing is recommended at least once a day. Floss on a handle is a great alternative for children or patients will low dexterity.

Mouth Rinse

It is essential to select a mouth rinse with active ingredients. Some mouth rinses contain essential oils to reduce bacteria on gums, teeth, tongue and cheeks. Mouth rinses can be geared for anticavity, antiplaque or even whitening.

Interdental Brush

Interdental brushes are adjunct brushes used to access difficult areas of the mouth. They are often recommended for patients with braces to access between the brackets, as well as for in between teeth that have larger spaces and are susceptible to food impaction.

Tongue Scraper

A tongue scraper is meant for reducing the bacteria accumulation on the surface of your tongue. A tongue scraper can either have bristles or a corrugated plastic end. The end of the scraper will be pulled from the back of the tongue to the front to remove bacteria. A tongue scraper is a great way to reduce halitosis, (bad breath,) as a large number of bacteria accumulate in the uneven surface of the tongue.

Supplemental Aids

There are many other aids not listed here that can be used for specific areas of your mouth. Floss threaders are used to get floss underneath a fixed retainer, sulci-brushes are thin brushes that are great for cleaning around wisdom teeth, rubber tip stimulators are used to stimulate gum tissue and promote good health.

It is vital to discuss recommendations with your dentist/ dental hygienist. If you have any questions about dental aids, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.