Our dentist is like our medical doctor: once we find one we trust, we want to stick with him. However, if you’ve moved to a new town recently or you have become dissatisfied with your current dentist, you may be in the market for a new one. But how do you know if the different dentists you are looking into are thorough and trustworthy? When comparing providers, one of the factors to consider is the thoroughness of the initial exam you receive. Here is a little bit about what you should expect from an excellent dentist during your first visit.

Oral Cancer Screening

Evidence of oral cancer may be found in the lips, cheek, throat, mouth, pharynx, sinus, or tongue. Some of the common symptoms include white patches, chronic sore throat, unexplained bleeding, persistent sores, and swelling or thickenings, among many. The dentist will do a thorough examination of your oral cavities, looking for these symptoms or other abnormalities. He may also feel for any lumps or irregular tissue changes in the area. If there are concerns, he may do a painless biopsy on a sample of tissue.

Periodontal Exam

The dentist or assistant will perform a probe of your gums and take measurements of the spaces between your teeth and gums to determine if any receding has been taking place. Gingivitis and periodontitis are the two most common forms of gum disease and they can be caused by poor oral hygiene, teeth grinding, or other factors. Left untreated, periodontal disease can cause you to lose your teeth.

Occlusal Analysis

This procedure involves analyzing how the surfaces of opposing teeth come together to form your bite. If there is disharmony in your bite, it could result in broken teeth or fillings, loss of teeth, or even chronic neck aches or headaches.

Cavity Detection

Tooth decay is harder to detect than ever before due to the prevalent use of fluoride treatments which harden the enamel. Cavities, then, are more likely to form in the softer surface beneath where they spread invisibly. During an initial visit, a good dentist will use a combination of x-ray and laser detection technologies to find any hidden and overt cavities that may have been lurking in your mouth for months or even years. Early detection means a greater chance of resolving the problem more easily without the need for root canal procedures.

If the dentists you are researching do not include all of these basic initial exam procedures as part of their first visit routines, keep looking until you find one who does. The proper care of your teeth is too important to leave to chance.