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What is a new patient exam?

By Sasha Curry

Great question!

Staying on top of your oral health means working with the best there is. Regular checkups and cleanings, combined with a thorough understanding of your dental history are a must. 

Let’s take a look at the breakdown so that you can fully understand a new patient exam at M Street Dental:  

  1. Oral health = overall health
  2. New patient exams: what to expect
  3. New patient exams: why are they important?

Often times, the synergies between certain areas of our body and our overall wellness seem a little easier to understand than others. When we experience tightness or soreness in a muscle group post-exercise, it’s fairly well accepted that stretching, time off from the gym for recovery, or perhaps a trip to the massage therapist will likely help treat the problem.

But, what are the connections between our oral health and our overall health? And, what can we learn about our overall wellness when observing the signs and symptoms of what’s going on inside our mouths?

Like other areas of the body, your mouth is filled with various bacteria, most of which are harmless. The major difference between your mouth and these other parts of your body is that your mouth is the entry point to both your digestive and respiratory tracts, and some of these bacteria can be the cause of disease.

Provided you are following a proper oral health care routine, such as daily brushing and flossing, your body will be able to utilize its natural defense/regulatory systems, keeping bacteria levels under control. 

However, without a proper oral care routine and regular visits to your dentist, these bacteria can reach levels that may lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease.

Which health conditions are linked to poor oral health?

Endocarditis: An infection in the lining of the heart caused by the accumulation of bacteria in the bloodstream. According to the American Heart Association, the primary causes of endocarditis include, “poor oral hygiene, minor gum injury caused by improper tooth brushing, and some dental procedures.”  

Pregnancy and birth complications: Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.

Pneumonia: Certain bacteria in your mouth can travel into your lungs, causing pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.

Some medications, such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics and antidepressants may also have an impact on your oral health, as they can reduce saliva flow; a system that allows for your mouth to neutralize acid caused by bacteria in your mouth. 

What does a new patient exam include?

As a general rule of thumb, the more we know about your oral health, the better equipped we can be to give you the best possible care. 

As a new patient, you can expect:

  1. Digital photographs: Used as a smile and facial evaluation
  2. X-ray examination: Digital dental radiographs allow us to assess all of the teeth as well as the supporting structure of the jaw
  3. Soft tissue exam (oral cancer screening): An examination of the roof/floor of your mouth, cheeks, tongue, lips, and throat to rule out any signs of cancer both inside of your mouth, as well as complications potentially originating in another part of your body. 
  4. Examination of your teeth: Here we will be taking a look into stains, cracks, cavities, malformations, chips, general wear and tear, as well as mobility. 

You can also expect a periodontal screening exam which will include a gentle measurement of the depth of the gum collar around your teeth (what holds your teeth in place), a check for mobile teeth, as well a measurement of receding gums. 

And finally, the best part of all…your very own personalized treatment plan! 

Here we will discuss our findings, so we can offer you preventative measures to improve and maintain your oral health while going over some options for you to consider for optimizing the comfort, function, and aesthetics of your teeth.

Why is a new patient exam so important?

As we have discussed, there are a number of different reasons that contribute to the importance of a new patient exam. From diagnosis and prevention of certain diseases to making sure your oral care routine is as comprehensive and well informed as possible, a new patient exam is an industry-standard that comes with a long list of benefits.

We aim to provide you with the best service possible. That being said, if you’re a new patient of ours, we pride ourselves on getting to know the full story behind your oral health.

If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to get in touch and book your appointment with us today.

From all of us at M Street,

 Stay smiling!

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