At your first dental visit, your dentist will take a thorough medical and dental history so she/he can learn about any health conditions you have and medications that you’re taking.
Next, an examination of your mouth and teeth will be conducted. The dentist will probe your gums to check for pockets, and conduct an oral cancer screening, soft tissue evaluation and temporomandibular joint test (this is commonly referred to as TMJ, the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull).
An inspection of all existing fillings and/or crowns will be done to look for leakage or cracks that may result in decay. The dentist may evaluate possible cosmetic alternations that he/she may feel will improve your outward appearance and smile. An assessment of your bite is also done.
X-rays of your teeth will likely be taken so the dentist can detect problems and evaluate for any decay, bone loss, abscesses, impacted teeth or tooth alignment issues. Types of X-rays include a full-mouth series of 16-18 pictures, as well as a panoramic X-ray that shows tooth position, the roots of your teeth, possible abscesses and tartar levels not detected in the oral examination. Your dentist also may opt to use an intra-oral camera that allows him/her to get a magnified view of inside your mouth.
Any problems that are identified during this comprehensive examination may be discussed in detail immediately following your examination or at a follow-up visit during which a more formal treatment plan would be made.