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Purpose of the Clinical Examination

The clinical exam is an integral part in a comprehensive general dentist’s examination. A family and cosmetic dentist will use this exam to help determine what treatment would be appropriate for the patient.

  • Gather data to create a baseline for the problems of the patient
  • It will help the patient become aware of the problems
  • Items to evaluate are esthetics, function, structure, and biologyExplaining the potential consequences of no treatment is important, as well as explaining the change in prognosis
  • When there are “high risk patients” the patient will often take on much of the responsibility of treatment, in terms of home care and following the prescribed directions
  • High risk for clinical failures involve people who grind (brux) their teeth, TMJ patients, and people with multiple compromised teeth
  • When a patient comes for an examination, the vast majority would prefer a comprehensive examination. Some will only want to treat urgent issues, but most patients at least want the information.
  • A joint exam, a muscle exam, a dental exam, and a periodontal exam should take 30 to 45 minutes for an average patient.
  • An exam should not be a barrier to entry.
  • Radiographs (x-rays) and photographs are often part of an initial exam