The Assessment

A systematic approach should be used in evaluating the mouth of elderly patients. All patients should receive a complete oral exam annually and more often if signs and symptoms are present.

Assessment Goals

  • Assess symptoms suggestive of oral problems
  • Examine:
    • Face and lips
    • Teeth, gums, and dentures, including level of hygiene
    • Mucosal surfaces,  including the soft and hard palate, and saliva levels
    • Lateral borders and undersurface of the tongue
    • Posterior pharynx
  • Palpate:
    • Neck
    • Temporomandibular joint
    • Floor of the mouth
  • Identify abnormal lesions
  • Offer anticipatory advice

Performing an Oral Exam: See Smiles for Life's "The Oral Examination" Course for additional instruction on how to perform an oral exam.