What is a comprehensive orthodontic exam?

The purpose of a free orthodontic exam includes everything your doctor needs to determine if you need orthodontic services. Your complete dental exam includes digital x-rays for diagnostic purposes. Optional diagnostic procedures, such as x-rays or other images, will be discussed with you based on your specific needs. A complete orthodontic exam is the most important aspect of treatment.

A thorough exam allows the orthodontist to diagnose all the problems that contribute to imbalances in the relationship between the bite and the jaw and that compromise the smile and facial proportions. A proper diagnosis is essential to developing a personalized treatment plan that aims to address specific smile and bite problems and meet your expectations. Khatami spends all the time necessary to listening to your concerns, thoroughly evaluating the proportions and harmony of your face, the relationships between your jaws, the positions of your nose, chin and lips from every angle and the aesthetics of your smile. Then, he will evaluate your teeth one by one and in relation to each other to determine all of your aesthetic and functional needs in order to provide you not only with a beautiful smile, but also a healthy and functional dentition and bite for life.

Comprehensive orthodontics can incorporate treatment phases focused on specific objectives at various stages of dentofacial development. Limited orthodontic treatment has a limited objective, which does not necessarily involve all of the teeth present. Then, your orthodontist will review your medical history to assess your overall health and determine if any medications you are taking could limit tooth movement or cause excessive gum tissue growth during treatment. Evaluating your current hygiene habits, diet and risk factors will allow your comprehensive dentist to understand your overall dental health.

Cephalometric radiography allows the orthodontist to evaluate and measure the vertical and horizontal relationships of the jaw bones and teeth. A thorough examination and data collection are essential to correctly diagnose all problems that compromise facial aesthetics and smile and contribute to imbalances in bite and function. A panoramic X-ray allows the orthodontist to see a general picture of the bones of the jaw; it is a “low-definition view” of the teeth. When needed, the orthodontist can refer you to your doctor for a sleep study to determine the severity of the problem and an appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan, such as the use of removable or orthognathic surgery to bring the lower jaw forward and open the airway during sleep.

Once a complete exam and diagnosis and a list of problems developed and prioritized have been performed, your orthodontist will evaluate all the options available for your treatment. Each patient's treatment needs are unique and, therefore, each patient's treatment options must be thoroughly and carefully evaluated to find the best option that addresses their health, aesthetic and functional needs. We look forward to offering you a personalized “smile plan”, whether it's comprehensive or limited orthodontic care. But all you really need is a cleaning, right? Before you answer, let your Prescott family dentist explain a little bit about comprehensive dentistry.