What is a Comprehensive Exam?

A comprehensive dental exam ensures that your dentist can evaluate overall your health and oral hygiene as well as determine and discuss with you any factors that might contribute to the wellness of your teeth, jaw, gums, bones, and more. Oral health offers your dentist insight into the overall health of your body, so dental check-ups are a must for complete full-body health.

What to Expect

Medical History

If you’re a new patient, it’s essential for the dentist to thoroughly take note of your medical history, any current health problems you have, and whether or not you’re taking any medication. It’s possible the exam will also touch on other lifestyle features that might affect oral health, such as habitual tobacco use or your diet. All of this is crucial for our professionals to capture an accurate representation of your body’s health in order to successfully implement any preventative measures or overall treatment.

Even if you’re a tried and true patient of ours, it’s always important to us to review your medical history and continuously update your files for the most accurate records.

Pre-existing Pain/Conditions

Don’t be afraid to mention any problems or pain you may be experiencing to our staff at any point during your visit. Successful communication of any prior health problems or aches will assist in them providing you with the most effective and beneficial examination. If you have any conditions such as arthritis that might affect the treatment or general up-keep of your oral health, our team will show you how to properly care for your teeth without causing further agitation.

Oral Cancer Exam

After initial discussions, the dentist will likely examine the current state of your mouth, teeth, gums, jaws, and bones. The inspection of these will help reveal any issues ranging from tooth decay and gingivitis to types of oral cancer, gum disease, or the form of your bite. An oral cancer exam will consist of the dentist feeling under your jaw, inside your lips and cheeks, along the side of your neck, the roof, and floor or your mouth, and the sides of your tongue. If the dentist spots any concerns, they will talk it over with you, in addition to preventative measures, options, and the next steps you should be taking.


It may be necessary during some visits to conduct x-rays in order to ensure that there are no problems occurring beyond the surface level. For instance, decay build-up between your teeth or by older fillings may not be visible beyond an x-ray. These are typically not required for every visit and radiation exposure is minimal, but do talk with our staff if you are worried about any possible exposure.


At some point, a dentist or a specialized hygienist will utilize the available equipment to conduct a cleaning on your teeth during your visit. Generally, before they perform each step, they will explain to you the process, equipment, and benefits to every procedure. It’s important to voice any questions or concerns you may have, as our aim is to ensure a pleasant experience with minimal discomfort involved. They will also display proper cleaning techniques, such as proper brushing or flossing to assist with successful at-home care.

By the end of an examination, we will have evaluated your need for any additional procedures including tooth restoration/replacement, visits with other professionals, or use of fluoride. Additionally, we will check on prosthetics such as dentures to ensure proper fit or discuss any required adjustments.

Importance of Regular Visits

Depending on the severity of any problems you may have, dentists will typically recommend a visit every six months. Examinations assist in determining any need for dental procedures on your behalf and can reveal very serious medical conditions such as vitamin deficiencies, oral cancers, or even diabetes and joint/muscle problems. Regular examinations mean that these problems can be found when they are at their most treatable or even before they fully develop so that preventative measures can be taken.

Ready to schedule your comprehensive exam? Contact us today to schedule a visit and get started – and don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns.