Full Mouth Examination



Full Mouth Examination

When you come for a full mouth examination here at Hamilton Family Dental, we’ll have a thorough look to identify any problem areas in your mouth so that we can plan the best possible treatment for your oral care needs.

Time With A Dental X-Ray Technician

Dental x-ray pictures are an important part of your check-up. By taking x-ray pictures of your mouth, your dentist will be able to see if there are any issues below the surface.

During your X-ray, you’ll bite down on a piece of specially designed plastic while an x-ray imaging machine is briefly placed against your cheek.

The resulting image will show both the visible parts of the teeth and the roots below the gum line and your jawbones. By including x-rays in a full mouth examination, your dentist can get a comprehensive look into your mouth situation and offer you oral care guidance as necessary.

At Hamilton Family Dental, we recommend using digital X-rays. These allow for easier storage, take less time and emit up to 90% less radiation than traditional x-ray machines. This means shorter, more convenient, and safer visits for you!


Jaw Health

The dentist will use your x-rays to see if there is any loss of bone, fractures, or other abnormalities below your visible gum line. They’ll then look for issues with jaw alignment, teeth grinding and oral cancer.

As part of your full mouth examination, your dentist will also feel your jawbones from the outside of your mouth while you bite down. That way, they can ensure that your bite is smooth, aligned and that there is no clicking or popping from your jaw joints. They’ll also inspect the grooves of your teeth to see whether any of them have been cracked or smoothed down due to grinding or clenching of the jaw.

Finally, your dentist will gently feel behind your jaw and neck to look for signs of oral cancer. Once this is done, your dentist will have a complete understanding of your oral health needs and will be able to prescribe any necessary treatments.

Frequently Asked Question

What is your checkup involves?

Our dentist will use a metal probe with a small, angled mirror to look behind your teeth and gums and check for any softening of tooth enamel and dentin. They will also look out for swellings of the gums, mouth sores, and redness.

Finally, your dentist will measure your periodontal pockets. These are the spaces between the top of the gum line and where the tissues attach to the tooth. This is an integral part of a full mouth examination, as excessively deep periodontal pockets can be a sign of gum disease.

Results and Advice

After your full mouth examination, your dentist will advise you on your next steps. This may involve scheduling another appointment for a procedure or simple guidance on at-home care.

It’s essential that you listen carefully to your dentist’s guidance and put it into action as best as you can. That way, you can ensure that your mouth is as healthy as it can be.

Make sure to schedule your next routine check-up for a date six months away. That’s the easiest way to ensure you don’t forget regular check-ups. Even if you’re diligent about looking after your oral health, there’s no better protection against dental issues than professional cleaning and monitoring.

What are early signs of dental trouble?

Visit a dentist if you have any of these issues or see your child having trouble chewing or complaining of soreness:

  • Mouth sores
  • Jaw pain
  • Redness
  • Swollen face or gums
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Broken teeth
  • Dry mouth
  • Bleeding gums
  • Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth

Getting checked out right away prevents more serious problems and infections.

What can I do if I’m scared of going to the dentist?

Experiences in the past, including when you were a child can, cause all sorts of anxiety for patients when it comes to dentistry. Often these experiences become wildly distorted over time and then reinforced negatively by scare stories from others and the media.

Firstly, talk openly about your fear with your dentist, dental nurse and hygienist so that they can accommodate your situation and do what is necessary to eliminate anything that might add to your anxiety. Often one good dental appointment where there has been no pain or triggers that remind you of your earlier bad experience can help you get a better feeling when it comes to visiting your dentist.

One of the things that you may not be aware of is how much technology and new science has been developed in dentistry to reduce pain and the length of time needed for treatments. Even over the course of a single year many new dental materials and techniques are introduced that make dental treatments ever simpler and less painful.

That means listening to stories from friends and family about their horror visits to the dentist are pointless. Those treatments are already long outdated and aren’t used any more because there are now safer and pain-free treatments that are used instead.

Avoiding your dentist because of your fear is actually dangerous, because it means that you’re missing out on getting information and advice that would stop you from needing intensive treatments. In fact overcoming your reluctance to go to the dentist for regular check-ups would mean that you could get help to avoid needing any of the horrible treatments you imagine you need.

Dentists know that many people have terrible fear about going to the dentist, so by speaking with them they’ll be able to make suggestions on other ways to help you over come the anxiety you feel… and there are some very unusual and interesting alternatives they can recommend.

I’m embarrassed about my bad teeth.

Your dentist deals with damaged teeth and gums every day. There’s a good chance they’ve seen many people with worse dental problems than yours. So, relax. It’s their job to help people prevent dental problems. But it’s also part of their job to deal with damaged teeth and help you get them as healthy as they can be.

You may like to call our dentist and let us know you’re embarrassed about the state of your teeth – but would like our help to fix them. This can help to break the ice. It also lets us know you have anxieties about it. You may find that knowing your dentist is already aware may help you feel more relaxed during your visit.

Why does the dentist take x-ray?

An x-ray finds problems before they can turn serious and costly. The dentist can also use the x-ray to track changes over time many diseases of the teeth and surrounding tissues cannot be seen when the dentist examines the mouth with their eyes. An X-ray examination may reveal:

  • small areas of decay between the teeth or below existing restorations (fillings)
  • infections in the bone
  • periodontal (gum) disease
  • abscesses or cysts
  • developmental abnormalities
  • some types of tumours

You may not need an x ray every time. The Dentist will evaluate your need for X-rays based on the conditions they see and if you have not had one in over a year.

Are x-rays safe?

While dental X-rays do involve radiation, the exposed levels are so low that they’re considered safe for children and adults. If the dentist uses digital X-rays instead of developing them on film, your risks from radiation exposure are even lower. We use only digital Xray at our practice to reduce the radiation exposure.

Is it safe to get an x-ray while I am pregnant?

The precautions take by your dentist by placing a lead apron over your body plus the protection of your body mean that your baby is well protected in the womb. The risks are lowered further with dental x-rays because of the very focused way in which the x-ray machine used by dentists emits it’s beam – in a directly focused small area of your jaw.

While the risk is considered negligible, there is a natural reluctance with most health care practitioners, particularly dentists, to x-ray pregnant women. It would usually only be considered in the case of an emergency when the advantage to the mother’s health is outweighed by any potential risk to your baby.

What types of dental x-rays are there?

There are two main types of dental X-rays: intraoral (meaning the X-ray film is inside the mouth) and extraoral (meaning the X-ray film is outside the mouth).

Intramural X-rays are the most common type of dental X-ray taken. These X-rays provide a lot of detail and allow your dentist to find cavities, check the health of the tooth root and bone surrounding the tooth, check the status of developing teeth, and monitor the general health of your teeth and jawbone.

Extraoral X-rays show teeth, but their main focus is the jaw and skull. These X-rays do not provide the detail found with intraoral X-rays and therefore are not used for detecting cavities or for identifying problems with individual teeth. Instead, extraoral X-rays are used to look for impacted teeth, monitor growth and development of the jaws in relation to the teeth, and to identify potential problems between teeth and jaws and the temporomandibular joint (TMJ, see temporomandibular disorders for more information) or other bones of the face.

I’m not having any symptoms. Do I still need to see a dentist?

Yes. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, you can still have dental health problems that only a dentist can diagnose. Regular dental visits will also help prevent problems from developing. Continuity of care is an important part of any health plan and dental health is no exception. Keeping your mouth healthy is an essential piece of your overall health. It’s also important to keep your dentist informed of any changes in your overall health since many medical conditions can affect your dental health too.

What is a bite-wing x-ray?

Bite-wing X-rays show details of the upper and lower teeth in one area of the mouth. Each bite-wing shows a tooth from its crown to about the level of the supporting bone. Bite-wing X-rays are used to detect decay between teeth and changes in bone density caused by gum disease. They are also useful in determining the proper fit of a crown (or cast restoration) and the marginal integrity of fillings.

What is a panoramic x-ray?

Panoramic X-rays show the entire mouth area — all the teeth in both the upper and lower jaws — on a single X-ray. This type of X-ray is useful for detecting the position of fully emerged as well as emerging teeth, can identify impacted teeth, and aid in the diagnosis of tumours.

What will happen at my first visit to a dentist?

At your initial visit, the dentist clinic will take all of your personal details, such as your address and date of birth. They will also take a full medical history to make sure that they are fully aware of any illnesses or medication that you may be taking and they can then treat you safely.

The dentist will then carry out a full check-up and chart all of your teeth and previous treatment, they will also assess the condition of your gums and your general oral hygiene. They may also take diagnostic x-rays.

If you need to have any dental treatment, your dentist will discuss this with you. They may give you a treatment plan and tell you what the cost is going to be.

You can make any further appointments as necessary.

Why do regular dental visits matter?

Regular dental visits are important because they can help spot dental health problems early on when treatment is likely to be simpler and more affordable. They also help prevent many problems from developing in the first place.

Visiting your dentist regularly is also important because some diseases or medical conditions have symptoms that can appear in the mouth.

What are receding gums?

Receding gums are also know as shrinking gums or loss of gum.

The two main causes of receding gums are aggressive brushing of the teeth and gum disease.

The biggest problems with receding gums, is that as the gums shrink they exposure the root of the teeth and this in turn leads to sensitive teeth. Once there is more root exposed and you no longer have a nice firm seal between the tooth and gum, food and other matter gets stuck deep next to the root; which means tooth decay can happen more easily. So using dental floss becomes an important part of your oral hygiene routine when you have receding gums.

One receding gums treatment option for people who have healthy gums and normal support for their teeth, is to have a gum graft. For this treatment your Dentist surgically covers the exposed root surfaces with new tissue.

The gum graft comes from either your own tissue from somewhere else in your mouth or your Dentist will use a commercially supplied tissue material. The gum graft is stitched in place where the gum has receded to reveal the root. With the use of modern dental techniques, discomfort after treatment tends to be minimal and the resulting healing generally provides a neat match so that the gum is again tightly sealed against the tooth.

If the cause of your receding gums is gum disease, then using gum grafts will produce less predictable results. Gum disease begins as an inflammation of the line of the gum and progresses through three stages.

My face is swollen, what should I do?

If you have facial swelling, this could indicate that you have an infection. You will need to see a dentist as you may need some antibiotics to relieve the symptoms of this infection.

How will my cracked tooth be treated?

Treatment depends on the size of the crack, where it’s located, your symptoms, and whether the crack extends into the gum line. Depending on those factors, your dentist may recommend one of the following:

In this procedure, your doctor uses a plastic resin to fill the crack, restoring its look and function.

A dental crown is a prosthetic device usually made of porcelain or ceramic. It fits over the damaged tooth or caps it.

To fit a crown, your dentist first shaves off some enamel from your tooth to make room for the crown in your mouth. They then make an impression of the tooth, pick out a colour that matches your teeth, and send the impression off to a dental lab to make the crown.

This process may take a couple of weeks. When the crown returns, your dentist fits and cements it over your cracked tooth.

With advances in technology, some dentists can mill a porcelain crown right in the office and place it that day.

With proper care, a crown can last a lifetime.

Root canal
When a crack is so extensive it extends into the pulp, your dentist, or a specialist such as an oral surgeon or endodontist, will recommend a root canal to remove damaged pulp and restore some integrity to the tooth. This procedure can prevent the tooth from becoming infected or weakening further.

When the structure of the tooth, and the nerves and roots that lie below it, are very damaged, removing the tooth maybe your only option.

No treatment
Many people have tiny, hairline cracks in the enamel of their teeth. If these cracks don’t affect appearance and don’t produce pain, your doctor may advise leaving them alone.

What causes a toothache?

Even if you are very conscientious about your oral care you will probably at some point in your life suffer from a toothache.

The most likely causes of toothache is a tooth cavity but there are other culprits. Receding gums or a thinning of the tooth enamel causes tooth sensitivity. If you experience sharp pains when eating or drinking cold or hot food, it could be a sign of sensitive teeth. Using toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth and a soft bristled toothbrush can help this condition enormously. Do see your dentist though to make sure that it’s not a cavity.

If the pain you experience is a stabbing, sharp pain when you bite down, the cause could be a cavity or even a cracked tooth. If the pain is throbbing and incessant then the cause could be more sinister like an abscessed tooth or infection. If you experience either of these types of pain then go and see your dentist as soon as possible.

One other significant, although less common, causes of toothache (tooth pain) is a sinus infection. If only the upper teeth on both sides of your mouth are in pain, sinusitis could be causing the discomfort. If you suffer from this symptom, a visit to your doctor will be in order. Other causes of toothache are injuries to the jaw, teeth grinding, arthritis or even cancer. If the wisdom teeth weren’t removed then impacted molars could be causing the problem.

The bottom line is to see your dentist or doctor if you’re experiencing toothache so your problem and be properly diagnosed and treated. A toothache is a very particular misery and you don’t have to live with it.

What to do for a toothache?

If there is a significant change in the health of your teeth and mouth then you should contact your dentist immediately.

The clearest sign that all is not well is a toothache. Until you can get the appointment, here are some short-term solutions for what to do for a toothache. If you have a toothache, rinse your mouth out with warm water (warm salty water works effectively as well) and gently use dental floss to make sure that there is no food or other debris trapped between the teeth.

Don’t put aspirin or other over-the-counter painkillers against the gums because these might burn the tissue of the gum. Instead use clove oil and rub it against the painful area; you’ll find clove oil at your local health food store.

You can even stick some sugar free gum over the sore tooth in order to minimise contact with food when you eat.

For a filling that has fallen out, rinse the tooth with warm salty water and call your dentist. The resulting void will be vulnerable to further decay and using the tooth will weaken the structure.

A loose crown can be fixed in the short term by making a paste from Vaseline and corn starch and sticking the crown back in place. Keeping away from hard or sticky foods is also advised when you have a loose crown.

Gum disease causes bleeding gums so a visit to the dentist is strongly advised. As a short-term solution you can get a wet tea bag, squeeze the water from it and press the bag against the bleeding area for approximately 20 minutes.

These solutions will offer short-term relief until you can contact your dentist and get the problem fixed properly.

Why do I need dental exams?

Regular exams help spot trouble early to prevent bigger and more costly treatments later.

A dental hygienist will start by cleaning buildup from your teeth. Then the dentist will probe spots on the surfaces and near the gumline with special tools. If it’s been a while between appointments, you may have some sore and sensitive areas.

You should get an exam every 6 months, or more often if your dentist recommends it. Find one who makes you feel at ease and lets you know what to expect. Often the dread of seeing the dentist turns to big relief when the visit is over, and you have a care plan set up. Being positive as a parent can help your kids overcome any of their fears.

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