Oral examinations by a dentist are crucial to assessing your oral health. Only a dentist is trained to see and diagnose disease and dysfunction in the mouth and jaw.

528677995During your oral examination your dentist will assess:

– damaged, missing or decayed teeth
– early signs of cavities
– condition of your gums, such as periodontal pockets, inflammation or other signs of gum disease (which can lead to tooth and bone loss)
– state of previous dental work such as root canals, fillings and crowns
– early signs of mouth or throat cancer, such as white lesions or blocked salivary glands
– other suspicious growths or cysts
– position of your teeth (e.g., spacing, bite)
– signs that you clench or grind your teeth (a treatable problem that can cause headache or sore jaw and can, if serious, lead to hearing loss and tooth loss)
– signs of bleeding or inflammation on your tongue and on the roof or floor of your mouth
– the overall health and function of your temporomandibular joint (which joins the jaw to skull), signs of disorders that can cause pain or tenderness
– the general condition of the bones in your face, jaw and around your mouth

X-rays may also be needed to detect problems between teeth, under the gumline and the position of impacted teeth and cracks or fractures.