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Dr. Brian Gallagher Discusses Components of the Comprehensive Dental Exam

The first part of performing a comprehensive dental exam is getting to know the patient. This phase of the exam is not about dentistry—it is about just talking with the patient, learning where they are from, what they do for a living, what their day has been like, and so on. Building a strong rapport with each of my patients is very important to me as a practitioner.

The next part of a comprehensive dental exam is doing a full charting of their current dental health—documenting fillings and other restorations they have in their mouth, the condition of each tooth surface, gum pocket depths, etc. This process includes doing a full soft tissue exam as an oral cancer screening. I also always check for TMJ and joint dysfunction, clenching, and teeth grinding issues. I also examine soft tissues including muscles of the face and neck. I then move on to discussing areas of concerns that I have found during the examination.

Many patients come to our office simply for their cleaning, but with prompting and a good conversation they may start recalling and revealing discomfort they have been experiencing somewhere in their mouth or with a particular tooth. At the initial new patient exam we also take a full set of x-rays to find any pathology that may be present, but also to establish a baseline of their condition to refer to as we go through the years and continue to work together on their dental care over time.

By the time the comprehensive exam is completed, we have a very good understanding of the patient’s condition and we have built a solid rapport with them as new patients whom we hope to maintain for years to come.

Dr. Brian Gallagher
West Park Dental
Cleveland, OH

New Patients Welcome

Posted 11/1/2017

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