The Complete Oral Exam (COE)

At Dogwood Family Dentistry Centre, our goal is to help patients obtain functional and beautiful oral health for the long term. A comprehensive dental exam allows the use of predictable, evidence-based dental systems that enable us to provide the highest level of patient care. This exam is a two-hour appointment completed for all new patients and existing patients of the practice. We wish to involve our patients as an essential part of the oral health experience. You will co-plan and co-diagnose your needs, playing an active role in your dental care.

When you see a new dentist for the first time or it’s been a while since your last dental exam you may be wondering what to expect at your appointment.

Medical History Review: Your dental exam patient paperwork provides your dentist with important information about your medical and dental background. Be sure to bring a list of all medications and supplements that you take, as well as the dosage of each. Certain types of prescriptions or surgeries may contraindicate dental treatment, so it’s vital to communicate with your provider.

Radiographs (X-rays) and Photographs: In order to fully assess all of your oral health needs, recent dental X-rays are a must. This may include a set of bitewings or a full mouth series/panoramic, or both. Additional digital photographs may be taken throughout the course of your exam in order to better communicate any findings that your dentist needs to make you aware of.

Consultation with the Hygienist or Assistant: One of the staff members will review your information and discuss any concerns that you have.

Examination by the Dentist: After speaking with the assistant or hygienist, the dentist will step in to perform a comprehensive examination and consultation. Some of the things being evaluated will include your:

  • Periodontal (gum) health
  • Oral cancer risk and screening
  • Existing dental work
  • Bite alignment
  • TMJ function
  • Primary concerns
  • Newly diagnosed conditions

Proposed Treatment Planning: Your dentist will visit with you about their findings, sharing their recommendations and any applicable treatments you have to choose from. In complex cases, we may schedule you back for a future date to complete this step.

If you require immediate care, some treatments can start the same day. But in most cases, your treatment will be mapped out on a customized care plan and scheduled at a future date. The treatment or insurance coordinator will confirm your benefits to take existing coverage into account when calculating the costs of your care.

Some people do not need any treatment, which is ideal. The treatment planning step is only needed if you have issues you need to correct or an elective service, such as cosmetic procedures that you’re planning for.

Dental Cleaning by the Hygienist: As long as your teeth and gums are generally healthy, the hygienist will usually start to clean your teeth during your first dental checkup. For moderate to severe gum disease, you’ll be rescheduled for a series of deep cleanings at a separate appointment.

To keep your smile healthy, you’ll want to plan on scheduling a preventative care appointment every three to six months.

Drs. Jane Wrinch and Anna Rankin