Comprehensive exams or comps is to evaluate the mouth, jaw, and teeth. Patients who are new to a dental office are to receive a comp.
These examinations are usually combined with dental cleanings, x rays, and other diagnostic tests. The examination begins with the patients full dental and medical history. This information is typically provided through forms that the patient has completed before the scheduled appointment. Once the dentist has become familiar with any allergies or health issues then the hygienist/dentist can proceed with the cleaning.
During the examination your dentist will use instruments such as a mirror, peridontal probe, and explorer to examine your teeth. Every tooth is checked for cavities, the position and condition that the tooth is in, and any eruption or impact is noted. Your dentist will also look into any previous treatments such as crowns and other restorative work that you have may have received. All of these observations are recorded in your chart.The jaw joint and your bite will also be assessed at this appointment. Reason for this is that if one has an irregular bite this can lead to not only excessive wear on the teeth but may lead to other dental problems as well.
The dentist will evaluate the gingiva, or gum tissue for peridontal disease by checking for loose teeth, bone loss, bleeding, and swollen or receding gums. An instrument called a peridontal probe measures the depth of the pocket around each tooth. If the gums are healthy then they will be less than three millimeters deep. By Dr. Ken Hamin
Source: Encyclopedia of Nursing & Allied Health, ©2002 Gale Cengage. All Rights Reserved.