Call us directly: 1-910-395-1585

4316 Henson Drive Wilmington, NC 28405 View Location

What to Expect

 

Your First Visit

One of the most important parts of successful dental treatment is the complete initial oral examination.  In order to make an accurate diagnosis and an appropriate treatment plan for you, we must know the exact nature of any pathology (disease) present in your mouth.  Even if there is no dental disease present at the time of the initial oral examination, it is extremely important to record the normal appearance of your mouth, so that in the event of a change, we can make a proper diagnosis.  This baseline record makes it possible to more accurately judge the progress and severity of change that has occurred.

The Initial Oral Examination includes:

Head and Neck Exam: 

  • Inspection of the facial structures and the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
  • Inspection of the lips, insides of your cheeks, tongue, glands and gland duct openings, muscle attachments, and hard and soft palates

Examination of the Teeth:

  • Chart how many are present and which teeth are missing
  • Evaluate the alignment of the teeth
  • Evaluate the status of any pathology (decay, fractures, etc.)
  • Chart any existing treatment (existing restorations, crowns, bridges, etc.)
  • Evaluate necessity of replacing missing teeth

Examination of the Support Structures of the Teeth (gums and bone):

  • Evaluation of the color, contour, texture and consistency of gum tissue
  • Note any recession of the tissue (loss of gum tissue around the tooth)
  • Measure the periodontal pockets around the teeth (shows the health of the gums)
  • Determine if there is any bleeding of the gums (indicating inflammation)
  • Evaluate mobility of the teeth

Radiographs:

  • Examination also includes current radiographs of diagnostic quality
  • May need to take anywhere from 4 to 10 radiographs, but will only take number of radiographs necessary for a complete diagnosis
  • Radiographs are evaluated for unerupted or impacted teeth, decay between teeth or under restorations, areas of infection around the roots of the teeth, estimated bone height, and abnormalities of the jaw bones.

Additional Diagnostic Tools:

  • In some cases, intraoral photos will be taken to show the patient areas of concern or interest
  • Impressions or molds of the patient’s teeth may be needed to evaluate spacing or restorative concerns

Treatment Planning:

  • After all information is gathered, the dental team will arrive at a comprehensive diagnosis of the patient’s current dental condition.
  • Subsequently, a treatment plan is developed to address all concerns with the patient’s current oral health.
  • Only after a treatment plan is made will dental treatment begin.

It is important to note that a thorough oral examination cannot take place in ten minutes.  We allocate a full hour and a half to properly diagnosis your current state of oral health. 

Please also note for some individuals it is not possible to clean their teeth at their initial appointment.  The ability to perform a cleaning at the initial appointment is determined by the findings from your examination.  If periodontal disease is diagnosed, a more in depth cleaning is needed and will take additional appointments.  Please see our explanation of Periodontal Disease and its treatment.