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Comprehensive Oral Exam (COE)

Every new patient to our office will begin with a Comprehensive Oral Exam by one our Registered Dental Hygienists and a Dentist. As an existing patient at our office, you will have a comprehensive oral exam every 3-5 years based on your oral health needs.

Your hygienist’s diagnostic portion of the exam includes: capturing radiographic images, digital images, an oral cancer screening, bite assessment, and a thorough gum assessment measuring all gum pockets. Your dental hygienist will then explain their findings and show you all areas of concern on your x-rays.

Your dentist’s portion of the exam includes: looking for decay/cavities, infection, broken teeth, wear on teeth, teeth positioning, signs of cancer, suspicious growths/lesions, and gum health. Your dentist will examine all your diagnostic images, and combine that with their clinical exam to create a treatment plan best suited to your oral health needs.

Your dentist will discuss their findings with you, as well as options for the recommended treatment for each condition. Our dentists reserve this time specifically to meet with you, and discuss your concerns so please feel free to discuss any areas of concern with your dentist at this time. We all want to make the experience as comfortable for you as possible, and if you let us know your concerns, we can work with you to address them.

After your exam you will have time to meet with our treatment coordinator, who will be able to further discuss the care plan created for you, as well as answer any financial questions that you may have.

How long will my comprehensive oral exam take?
The appointment takes approximately 90 minutes. This allows enough time for the dental team to completely assess all of your concerns, and to create a treatment plan based on your individual needs.

Oral Cancer Screening

Your oral cancer screening is part of your Comprehensive Oral Exam and it includes looking for abnormal lesions on the lips, tongue, gums, inside of the cheeks, under the tongue, and oropharynx (back of the mouth, throat and tonsils). It is important to learn to be able to recognize the normal healthy conditions of your own mouth this allows you to be able to recognize changes or abnormal conditions in your mouth.

Your hygienist will use a VELscope which is an enhancement system that “uses natural tissue fluorescence to enhance the way clinicians visualize oral mucosal abnormalities that might not be apparent or even seen with the naked eye”. This wireless device assists in the enhanced visualization of oral mucosal abnormalities, such as oral cancer or premalignant dysplasia. The VELscope is not an x-ray, it is a dental light device.

Contributing factors to oral cancer include, age, use of tobacco in any forms, excessive use of alcohol, chronic irritation of tissues due to ill-fitting dentures, repeated trauma to the mouth and overexposure to the sun. Signs and symptoms of oral cancer include any swelling, red or white patches or sores that do not heal within 2 weeks. It is importance to come and see your Dentist.

Digital Radiographs (X-rays)

Why digital x-rays are safer than conventional film and why you should get them?

  • Hanover Dental only uses digital x-rays which are the lowest in radiation
  • The average 4 dental x-rays are comparable to radiation from 4 hours in natural sunlight
  • Show us what is under the gums and the root of the tooth
  • Helps find cavities before they start to hurt us
  • Allows us to find abnormalities in the jaw bone and teeth that can cause harm
  • Saves you money to fix small problems now and not large problems later

Bitewing X-rays

Bitewing x-rays show the upper and lower back teeth and how the teeth touch each other in a single view. These x-rays are used to check for decay between the teeth and to show how well the upper and lower teeth line up. They also show bone loss when severe gum disease or a dental infection is present.

Periapical Radiography

Periapical radiography is a commonly used intraoral imaging technique in dentistry. Periapical radiographs provide important information about the teeth and surrounding bone. The image shows the entire crown and root of the tooth which provides vital information to aid in the diagnosis of the most common dental diseases; specifically tooth decay, tooth abscesses and periodontal bone loss or gum disease. Additional important findings may be detected, including the condition of restorations, the presence of calculus or tartar, impacted teeth or broken tooth fragments and variations in tooth and bone anatomy.

Panoramic Radiography

Panoramic radiography, also called a panoramic x-ray, is a two-dimensional (2-D) dental x-ray examination that captures the entire mouth in a single image, including the teeth, upper and lower jaws, surrounding structures and tissues. The jaw is a curved structure similar to that of a horseshoe. However, the panoramic x-ray produces a flat image of the curved structure. It is typically set to provide details of the bones and teeth.

CT Scan Radiography

CT scan radiography is known as dental cone beam computed tomography (CT). This type of CT scanner uses a special type of technology to generate three dimensional (3-D) images of dental structures, soft tissues, nerve paths and bone in the craniofacial region in a single scan. Images obtained with cone beam CT allow for more precise treatment planning. Cone beam CT is not the same as conventional CT. However, dental cone beam CT can be used to produce images that are similar to those produced by conventional CT imaging.

Cone Beam CT

Cone beam CT provides detailed images of the bone and is performed to evaluate diseases of the jaw, dentition, bony structures of the face, nasal cavity and sinuses. It does not provide the full diagnostic information available with conventional CT, particularly in evaluation of soft tissue structures such as muscles, lymph nodes, glands and nerves. However, cone beam CT has the advantage of lower radiation exposure compared to conventional CT.

Custom Sports Mouth Guards

Sports guards are a device worn over your teeth that protects them from blows to the face and head. Sports guards are an important piece of athletic equipment for anyone participating in a sport that involves falls, body contact or flying equipment. Sports guards typically cover the upper teeth, and are designed to protect against broken teeth, cut lips and other damage to your mouth. If you wear braces or other fixed dental appliances (such as a bridge) on your lower jaw, your dentist may suggest a mouth protector for these teeth as well.

Properly diagnosed, designed, and custom fabricated mouth guards are essential in the prevention of athletic oral/facial injuries. A properly fitted mouth guard must be protective, comfortable, resilient, tear resistant, odorless, tasteless, not bulky, cause minimal interference to speaking and breathing, and most importantly, have excellent retention, fit, and sufficient thickness in critical areas.

There are 3 basic types of sports guards. Your dentist can explain the difference in cost and comfort, and how well they can protect you or your child.

  1. Custom-fitted mouth guards are made especially for you by your dentist. They offer a better fit and comfort which means your child is more likely to wear the mouth guard. Your dentist can make a mouth guard that is a perfect fit for your mouth.
  2. Boil and bite mouth guards are available at many sporting goods stores. They can offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors and are softened in hot water. By softening the mouth guard, it can more easily take to the shape of your mouth but because it is a one-size fits all mouth guard, it will be bulky in certain areas.
  3. Stock mouth guards are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. They can be bulky and can make breathing and talking difficult which means your child may not wear the mouth guard.

Click here for more information about Mouth Guards from the Canadian Dental Association.

Bruxism Night Mouth Guards

Bruxism is a habit that is characterized by the grinding of teeth and is typically accompanied by the clenching of the jaw. Clenching refers to holding your jaw tightly closed, causing additional stress on your teeth. Your jaw should only be closed when eating, or chewing. An individual who bruxes (clenches) may experience such symptoms as jaw pain and headaches. It is common for patients to complain about experiencing headaches in the morning, after a long night of grinding or clenching their teeth. Many times it is your dentist or hygienist that will first see the wear patterns on your teeth and inform you about your grinding. Your dentist can make a custom mouth guard to protect your teeth and fix your bruxism issues. Talk to your dentist about your options today.

Click here for more information about Mouth Guards from the Canadian Dental Association.

Dental Exams

The dental exam is not just a quick check of the hygienist’s work. The dentist actually has a checklist of items to look at and diagnose. Many of these are things you cannot see on your own, but that your dentist is trained to detect.

Here are some of what your dentist is looking for during your dental exam:

  • Decay, infection, missing, broken or impacted teeth
  • Early stage cavities
  • Assessing previous dental work, including root canals, fillings and crowns
  • Detecting early signs of mouth and throat cancer
  • Noting suspicious growths, cysts or lesions
  • Checking for signs of wear on the teeth, indicating clenching or grinding
  • Teeth positioning, including spacing and bite
  • Determining the overall health and function of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
  • Working alongside your dental hygienist to determine gum condition
  • Making note of any signs of gum disease (periodontal pockets, inflammation, bleeding and redness) which can lead to bone and tooth loss

The dental exam can catch problems early—before you see or feel them—when they are much easier and less expensive to treat.

Click here for more information about Dental Exams from the Canadian Dental Association.

Preventive Hygiene Therapy

Preventive therapy is also known as your professional dental cleaning. At your appointment, your hygienist will complete the following as needed:

  • Assessing the overall health of your mouth
  • Measuring of periodontal pockets (space between your tooth and gums)
  • Determining health of supporting structures of the teeth (bone, gums, ligaments)
  • Diagnosis of gum disease
  • Radiographs
  • Intra oral photos
  • Blood pressure monitoring
  • Oral cancer screening
  • Discussion of your treatment needs, based on presence or absence of gum disease
  • Scaling to remove the soft and hard deposits from above and below the gum line
  • Teeth polishing
  • Fluoride treatment
  • Nutritional counselling
  • Smoking cessation
  • Oral hygiene instruction
  • Discussing correlation between mouth condition and its effect on the rest of the body

Click here for more information about Preventive Therapy from the Canadian Dental Association.

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