Dental Exams in West Seattle

West Seattle Family Dentistry

Your first experience with West Seattle Family Dentistry will be the Comprehensive Dental Examination. We call this our "Co-Discovery" appointment. By "Co-Discovery", we mean that you and the dentist can sit down in a relaxed "one on one" atmosphere to find out together the true level of your dental health.

During this time you will help us to understand any dental complaints, desires or other health issues that a new patient may have. It also lets both the dentist and you discuss certain pertinent dental issues. The comprehensive exam also enables you to meet our team and to get to know us.

This is paramount to Drs. Christian and Spivey. We want you to feel comfortable with any dental treatment done in this office. We feel that by taking the time to understand your dental condition and desires, we can better educate both ourselves and our patients. We want our patients to understand what treatment needs to be done, why it is being done, and any fees associated with treatment.

Things to expect during the Examination:

A thorough medical and dental history is taken with each new patient. Your chief complaints are discussed as well as any previous dental experiences, and treatment wishes.

A full mouth series of radiographs (x-rays), as well as a panoramic radiograph, are usually taken. The full mouth series of radiographs, or FMX, shows each individual tooth allowing us to diagnose any pathology associated with the tooth and the surrounding bone support. The panoramic radiograph shows the surrounding structures of the mouth. It will show the sinuses, as well as the physical shape of the upper and lower jaws. If necessary, other imaging treatments can be ordered to diagnose certain dental problems.

A healthy TMJ is critical in achieving long term stability of the dental environment. A detailed palpation of the muscles of the face and neck and the TMJ is done. Tactile, visual, and in some cases a stethoscope is used to listen to the internal sounds of the body, known as auscultation examination is used to diagnose the health of the TMJ, and surrounding structures.

By the use of certain tools, we can diagnose the health of your gums and determine which type of hygiene visit would be best for you.

We will also do a check of the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of abnormalities.

Benefits of a Comprehensive Examination:

  • You will have a good idea, and understanding of your overall dental condition.
  • The examination may bring to light a new understanding of your teeth, or any problems that you have been worried about.
  • Hopefully we at West Seattle Family Dentistry will have been able to educate and answer any questions that you may have in regards to your mouth and possible treatment.
  • If restorative, or aesthetic dentistry is being treatment planned, you will have a good idea of what can be done to get you to your desired result.
  • A plan to organize and sequence treatment to do the optimum dentistry for your desired esthetic result.
  • By finding the cause of the problems and possible solutions, you will be able to formulate a better educated decision about your further dental care. We are interested in treating problems, not the symptoms. If you can diagnose and treat problems, the symptoms to go away.

At regular check-up exams, your dentist and hygienist will:

  • Examination of diagnostic x-rays: Essential for detection of tooth decay, tumors, cysts, bone loss, and other bony changes. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
  • Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
  • Gum disease evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
  • Examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
  • Clinical Examination: Check current fillings, crowns, bridges and tissues underlying removable prostheses. With the clinical exam and diagnostic X-rays, we are able to figure out if treatment is required or if any changes in the patient's oral care at home are needed.

Other cleaning & prevention services: