No matter how vigilant one's oral care regime, the irrepressible development of plaque, and the porous nature of teeth makes them prone to decay. To forestall the excessive development of plaque that can result in gum and tooth loss, routine prophylaxis (Adult Prophylaxis Procedure Code and Child Prophylaxis Dental Procedure Code) is recommended for all individuals.
Yet prophylaxis (a dental cleaning), is only part of the equation when it comes to our overall health. In fact, the mouth is often considered a window to the rest of the body because many other illnesses first represent themselves as changes within the mouth. As a result, a periodic oral evaluation is performed each time you visit your dentist to serve as a benchmark of your overall health, and to see if anything has changed with your oral health since your last regular visit.
During a dental examination, your dentist will perform a visual examination, and possibly (particularly if you are pursuing orthodontic treatment) bitewing or 360° panoramic X-rays to detect:
Weaknesses in already installed crowns, fillings and bridgework
Gum or bone recession
Teeth deterioration due to abnormal bite, bruxism or TMJ
Your dentist may also perform a visual and digital examination of lymph nodes throughout the face and neck looking for any abnormalities, pain, or flexibility within the nodes that could be markers for disease.
Likewise, a similar examination of your lips, gums, tongue and other internal mouth surfaces will be conducted, again looking for various signs of illness or disease.
Since a periodic exam is built upon the foundation of a comprehensive oral evaluation (Comprehensive Oral Evaluation Procedure Code), your doctor will be looking for any changes since your last comprehensive exam to catch any early signs of serious illness that may be otherwise undetected. Some illnesses which can be detected during such evaluations are:
High blood pressure
A periodic dental oral evaluation is a valuable part of your preventative health maintenance plan, and your dentist is a great ally in keeping an eye out for illness you may not know you even possess.