Comprehensive exam vs. limited exam: What’s the difference?

Did you know that all dental exams and evaluations are not the same? 

Sure, they all serve a purpose, but they’re not created equal.

Today, the team at Avalon Family Dentistry is here to explain what comprehensive and limited dental exams entail and what’s the difference between the two!

Comprehensive exam

When a patient comes into our office for the first time, and they are not in pain, we set aside time for a comprehensive dental exam

Some offices also call this the New Patient Exam.

In this exam, Dr. Hannah and Dr. Lee complete a full review of your medical and dental history.  

Then, we ask for your new patient forms to be returned at least one week before your appointment.

Because this review cannot be rushed.

Reviewing these histories is extremely important as there are times when medical conditions and medications can affect your mouth and teeth!

Dr. Hannah and Dr. Lee then perform a head and neck examination

This allows them to check for any lumps and bumps as well as other things that should not be there. 

This is an essential part of Avalon Family Dentistry’s cancer screening examination. 

Next, they check:

  • All the tissues inside of your mouth;
  • The back of your throat;
  • Your tongue;
  • And your saliva glands.

This allows Dr. Lee and Dr. Hannah to make sure there is nothing out of the ordinary inside your mouth.

From there, Dr. Hannah and the assistants record any existing fillings you have

Our office utilizes digital x-ray sensors AND ITero 5D intraoral wellness scanner

A dentist examining a dental X-Ray

This allows the team to document the existing conditions in your mouth. 

After the initial scan, we will update your wellness scan every 12-18 months. This enables to team to monitor changes and their progression. 

The team can also show you a time-lapse of progression, so no more wondering what is going on in your mouth!

Aside from that, we check the health of your gums by taking measurements

This is where Dr. Hannah and Dr. Lee see if there are any issues with periodontal disease in your mouth and address them accordingly.

They might then advise you of any treatment recommendations they have for you and answer any questions you may have.

Limited exam

At a limited exam, Dr. Hannah and Dr. Lee are addressing the immediate concern you have called us with. 

The team is often working you into the schedule around already scheduled patients, so there may be some waiting. 

The goal of this exam is to address and diagnose the pain

Definitive treatment may not occur on that day, but the team will do what they can to minimize the pain.

A routine periodic exam is performed during your routine appointment with the dental hygienist.

Dr. Hannah and Dr. Lee will come in and evaluate any new concerns you may have or concerns the hygienist may have uncovered. 

They also refer to all the information gathered at your initial examination to make sure that have been no adverse changes. 

During your recare, our trained hygienists will also perform your cancer screening exam!

We’re here for you!

And that’s all folks – that’s the general difference between a comprehensive and a limited dental exam. 

Whether you remain in our office for life (which we hope) or for some reason must leave us, these are excellent guidelines to save so you always have the highest expectations!

Please call Tanya at our office to schedule your next exam or recare. 

That way, you are ensured of being on the best schedule to maintain optimal oral health!