In schools and universities, an assessment or examination is used to determine how much a student has learned about the lesson or subject. Teachers use this to identify a student's strong and weak points, and formulate a learning plan that is suitable for the student based on the data he has collected. The same principle applies to dentists and patients. Once a patient visits a dentist office in Oxon Hill MD for any dental concern, a dentist will perform a thorough assessment of the patient's oral health condition, so they can come up with the best dental care and treatment plan for the patient. This assessment is done via a series of procedures, collectively called as an oral exam.
An oral exam is a detailed dental examination designed to help the dentist decide on the best dental procedure for a patient. Aside from the patient's chief dental complaint, this oral assessment will also help the dentist in determining possible oral health issues that a patient may have, and designing an action plan to prevent these issues from happening. This is beneficial for the patient because it gives him an idea about the current condition of his teeth and dentition, and helps him in deciding which dental procedure should be considered.
The oral assessment is divided into different parts, all of which are essential in developing a customized oral treatment plan for the patient that will provide optimal results.
The first part of the exam is the medical history. This is a thorough interview focusing on a patient's past medical records, current lifestyle, and activities that may affect or have affected his dental health. The dentist will collect information about a patients past and present medications, allergies, habits and vices, and clinical data. This will help the dentist in identifying precautions and conditions that need to be considered in creating the dental treatment plan for the patient.
The next part is the investigation. The dentist will check the current condition of a patient's mouth, including the teeth, the gums, and the supporting structures. This part usually includes a thorough cleaning of the teeth, so that the dentist can easily see the damages on the patients dentition. Using different dental instruments, the dentist inspects each tooth, and takes note of its condition. Aside from the teeth, the dentist will also check the condition of a patient's gums, bite alignment, and oral structure movement. If deemed necessary, the dentist will perform an oral X-Ray, so he can determine any abnormalities that are not visible to the naked eye.
After the investigation, the dentist will study and analyze the findings, and discuss them with the patient. This part, called the education, is a collaboration between the patient and the dentist, so they can come up with the ideal dental treatment plan that is agreeable to both parties. Depending on the observations of the dentist, a patient might be advised to undergo dental procedures or restorations, or they might be endorsed to a dental specialist (such as a periodontist or a prosthodontist). The patient will also be educated with techniques and tips in taking care of his dentition.
After educating the patient, the patient can then discuss with the dentist what are the next steps they need to undergo. Most dentists also give their patients a take-home kit that includes a toothbrush, dental floss, tongue cleaner, mouthwash, and a rubber tip stimulator to promote regular oral hygiene at home.
Undergoing a thorough and detailed oral exam with a dentist is important in maintaining a healthy and hygienic mouth. This will also help a patient in formulating an oral hygiene routine that is both comfortable, and beneficial for teeth and gums.