Back to Patient Education

New Patient Examination (Adult)

Your first examination at Wilson Park Dental includes a soft tissue examination, oral cancer screening, an evaluation of your existing restorations and any new cavities, and a periodontal screening.


An important part of a patient’s first visit to a dental office is the examination of the head and neck. The clinician will be checking to see if these tissues are normal or if there are any conditions requiring further investigation. This includes an examination of the soft tissues of the head and neck, as well as the inside of the mouth. This will be performed thoroughly and systematically to ensure that no areas are missed. If an abnormality is seen, the clinician will note details such as the type, size, color, location, surface texture, and consistency of the abnormality. A referral to a specialist may be necessary to evaluate an abnormality. The intraoral soft tissue examination includes checking the soft tissues of the mouth, the throat, the tongue and the gums. The extraoral head and neck soft tissue examination includes checking for asymmetries, a lymph node examination and a brief temporomandibular joint examination. This is also referred to as an oral cancer screening.

All the teeth will be evaluated at the examination. We will record the existing fillings, missing teeth, any cavities or broken teeth. This is done with a visual inspection and by feeling the teeth with instruments made for examining the teeth. There are other diagnostic tools used to examine the teeth. Radiographs (x-rays) are important to see between the teeth, the roots, and the surrounding bone. An intraoral camera is used to see an enlarged picture of your tooth. This aids the dentist in seeing problems, but also lets you see a better view of your teeth. A Diagnodent is a light source that detects cavities in the deep grooves of the chewing surface of a tooth. Once all this information is gathered, the dentist will formulate a treatment plan specific for your mouth and discuss your options with you. Occasionally, the treatment options will be discussed at a second appointment, after the dentist has had a chance to review all the information.

A periodontal examination and probing are used to assess the health of your gums and teeth. They can help your dentist diagnose the gum diseases gingivitis and periodontal disease. They also can reveal receding gums, exposed roots, tooth grinding (bruxism) and other problems. The exam and probing include taking measurements of the spaces between your teeth and gums (pockets). Any dentist or dental hygienist can measure these gaps. If your dentist has concerns about your gum health, you may be referred to a Periodontist, who is a gum-disease specialist.