When people hear the words “oral exam,” most people do not have the slightest clue what it means. Most people end up chuckling thinking that it is an illusion or a euphemism for something more sexual in nature. It is also not an academic exam where a person has to speak their answers rather than writing them. That said, oral exams are actually important, and understanding them is important for those who want to maintain their oral health.
An oral exam is actually more important than it sounds. It is not just some routine check to see how things are. Oral exams are conducted as a routine for a good reason. Below is a more in depth look at what an oral exam is, and why it is so important.
The General Idea
An oral exam is a process where a dentist checks the patient’s oral and systemic health. It is conducted to identify concerns or pathologies as to develop a treatment plan catered towards an individual so as to maximize that person’s oral health.
In layman’s terms, dentists understand that not all people are the same. They conduct these tests to see where their patient is at in terms of health so as to formulate a plan that will ensure good health whilst achieving their patient’s expectations or objectives.
This is the very first step. It is the part that mostly involves talking. The patient gives out information about his medical history to the dentist. Common questions are those that relate to medication, allergies, vitamin or supplement intake, smoke and alcohol use, use of narcotics, experiences with anesthesia, ongoing treatments for other conditions, previous surgeries, and so much more.
Checking the Teeth
This is where the dentist gets a little more hands on. The dentist does a simple check of each tooth’s surface. He examines them with great care in order to determine if there are any new cavities, and to check on how the old cavities are doing. The dentist also checks how existing crowns or fillings are doing and if any of them might require immediate replacement.
A dentist will also conduct other tests if he deems it necessary, such as when an X-ray is deemed a necessity.
This is where the dentist informs his patient of his findings and his recommendations on how to solve any issues that might have been discovered during the exam. In cases where there are severe problems, the dentist may have to point their patient to a specialist who has the advanced skills, knowledge, and tools to remedy the situation.
The Goodie Bag
This is not something all dentists practice, but some dentists like to give their patients a take-home bag that will promote oral health care.