The purpose of screening is to identify both normal and abnormal oral conditions and to make referrals for dental care. If no problems are found, a verbal referral should be given for regular and preventive dental care. If abnormalities are noted, referrals should be given for dental assessment and treatment. Comprehensive diagnosis and treatment are the responsibilities of dentists.
An oral health screening has three main parts:
- reviewing oral health history
- performing a physical examination of the mouth
- referring for preventive dental care or assessment and treatment
Spending adequate time performing all of the necessary screenings before picking up a scaler will help dentist to inspect all pieces of information necessary to evaluate risk and make a definitive diagnosis.