A visual inspection can help your dentist spot most oral health problems, including the following:
Cavities: Using a tool to gently probe all tooth surfaces, your dentist can detect soft spots that may indicate decay.
Periodontal Disease: Like cavities, periodontal disease is detected by using a dental probe. Your dentist will use this instrument to measure the spaces between your gums and teeth to determine if gum disease is present.
Oral Cancer: Affecting the lips, throat, head, neck, and soft tissues inside the mouth, oral cancer has a high cure rate if caught early. Your dentist will visually inspect these areas for unusual sores, lumps, or rough patches and palpate them to determine if swelling or tenderness is present.
Jaw and Bite Issues: A misaligned bite can cause a host of problems with your teeth and jaws, including pain the jaw joints and teeth grinding. Stress can also cause you to grind your teeth and lead to jaw problems such as TMJ disorder. At your first comprehensive oral exam, your dentist will evaluate the way your teeth meet, check your jaws for signs of stress and inspect your teeth for damage caused by grinding to determine if further treatment is necessary.