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.
- Assess symptoms suggestive of oral problems
- 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
- 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.