Intraoral Exam

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A systematic approach to the intraoral examination is critical. It is natural to focus on the area of injury, but this may cause other important clinical findings to be missed.

Rocio QuiƱonez, DMD
Rocio QuiƱonez, DMD

Procedure

  1. Irrigate to remove blood, clots, and debris.
  2. Examine mouth, including:
    • Soft tissues
    • Teeth
    • Bony structures
  3. Assess the injured area, for the following:
    • Tenderness and swelling
    • Lacerations
    • Damaged or mobile teeth: if fractured or avulsed tooth parts cannot be located, ascertain that the fragment is not embedded in the soft tissues or aspirated. Soft tissue x-rays may be needed
    • Occlusion-ensure patient can bite together normally. Altered occlusion can indicate condyle or mandibular fractures while "steps" in the occlusal plane can indicate alveolar fracture.
    • Mobile jaw segments
    • Pain or limitation on opening which can indicate trauma to the temporomandibular joint or condyles.