Comprehensive Exam

Why is a Comprehensive Exam Important?

By Olga Baczara DMD

Published in “The Maryland Women’s Journal”, January 2009

Have you ever been surprised that your dentist takes time to thoroughly examine not only your teeth, but your gums, jaw joints (TMJs), and your functional bite?  Have you ever questioned why you needed to have molds of your teeth made for diagnostic purposes, or why you to have so many radiographs taken and photographs of your smile and teeth?

Well, your teeth as well as gums, jaw bones, TMJs, and muscles are all part of a sophisticated masticatory system.  They are also part of your body and overall health. Failure in one element could cause failure in others. For instance, tooth grinding or bruxism could be caused by multiple factors and have multiple symptoms besides significant tooth wear.

A thorough functional diagnosis often reveals a misalignment between your teeth and jaw joints.  In other words, the top and bottom rows of teeth do not fit together properly.  This causes teeth to slide around and bang into each other during tooth grinding, which results in protective muscle contraction and pain.  The movement not only happens in the teeth area.  The TMJ’s have to move often for grinding to happen.  This eventually could lead to non-repairable damage of the TMJ internal structures.

As a result, not only does a person experience flattened, mobile, or sensitive teeth, but also receding gums, changes in the bite, jaw and neck  muscle tension, TMJ’s pain and pops or even frequent headaches and depression.  Only treating the broken teeth and not addressing the bigger picture might lead to more problems in the future.  Problems that if not addressed early on, can become bigger, cause significant discomfort and pain, or create an unaesthetic smile.  More so, unaddressed problems with TMJ’s, bite and bruxism can also undermine the success of dental treatment.

Many people do not realize the damage happening to their teeth and jaw joints (TMJ) until it becomes significant and painful.  An unexpected broken tooth could be your warning sign.

Fortunately, today’s dentistry offers so much more than just “drilling and filling.” Dentists have the ability to diagnose, prevent, and treat those problems before they cause damage and pain.  A thorough comprehensive diagnosis is essential. This means that your gums, jaw bone, muscles and TMJ’s, functional bite and teeth have to be examined for proper diagnosis, prevention, and treatment.

When evaluating your dental health, we try to understand and “investigate” how the teeth evolved to their present condition.  This helps us to prevent dental work failure, since our goal is to recreate beauty and health that will last a lifetime.

A graduate of Boston University’s School of Dental Medicine, Dr. Baczara has studied comprehensive cosmetic and esthetic restorative dentistry with the Pankey Institute of Advanced Dentistry, Dawson Center for Advancement of Dentistry, and Seattle Institute of Advanced Dentistry.

Dr. Baczara opened her Crofton practice in 2003 with the goal of providing high quality cosmetic and restorative dental care in personalized, relationship based atmosphere. She believes that quality and meticulous work is important in dentistry, but it does not end there. Making her guests feel comfortable and relaxed, educating and offering choices about their health, answering questions and spending time building a relationship are very important part of her service. Her patients become her friends.

In order to serve her patients better, Dr. Baczara opened the beautiful new office in the Village at Waugh Chapel in Gambrills, MD. The new state-of-the-art Center for Fine Dentistry is located on the first floor of the Anne Arundel Medical Center building in the Village complex.

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