A comprehensive evaluation is performed on patients who are new to our practice. If necessary, a staff member will take x-rays. (If you have been seen recently by another dentist, copies of your most recent x-rays with that dentist are helpful for us to have.) Dr Gadol will then perform a detailed examination of your x-rays to look for signs of decay. She will visually inspect them for suspicious areas that could indicated decay, and use a probe to test your teeth surfaces. (Decaying areas feel slightly softer than health areas do.) Dr Gadol or the dental hygienist will also inspect your gums to determine how healthy they are. While often overlooked, gums are critical for healthy teeth – they provide a barrier to bacteria and other substances that would otherwise attack the roots of your teeth, causing massive damage.
For established patients, Dr Gadol will perform a periodic evaluation. Typically such an evaluation is recommended every six months, although Dr Gadol may suggest a different interval depending on your individual history. Because she is already familiar with your history and your mouth, such an exam tends to be a general overview of your oral health with a focus on areas of concern. We follow the ADA (American Dental Association)’s guidelines for x-rays, and will take x-rays of your molars and any other suspicious areas at least yearly, or more often if necessary.
The goal of both comprehensive and periodic evaluations is to detect any cavities, gum inflammation, or any other potential problem as early as possible. Dr Gadol seeks to be proactive in treating small problems early, rather than waiting until they become bigger problems that will require more complicated, extended treatment. We are firm believers in the importance of regular exams to diagnose such small problems. Unfortunately, if a patient waits until a tooth is causing acute pain, it is often much more involved and expensive to save the tooth – if saving the tooth is even possible.