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10 Point Examination

Dr. Tarantola and you together learn about the condition of your teeth, gums, TMJs, jaw muscles, bite function and esthetics, that is, the entire masticatory system.

Your 10 point exam is a “physical exam of your masticatory system”. It is a baseline for future comparisons and is the basis for a lifetime master plan for oral health.

• Understand your concerns

• Oral cancer screening

• Tooth assessment

• Periodontal exam

• TMJ assessment

• Muscle function

• Digital x-rays

• Digital photographs

If there are bite concerns that are a contributing factor to other issues such as trouble chewing, TMJ pain and distress, muscle pain that is difficult to manage, additional diagnostics may include:

• T-scan digital bite analysis

• Articulated diagnostic casts

Dentistry today has so much to offer…restorative and reconstructive dentistry, implants, porcelain veneers and crowns, bonding, white fillings, whitening, implants…what is right for you?? It has to begin with a 10 point exam and diagnosis.

Unless there is some immediate concern or urgency, the first series of visits will involve a comprehensive evaluation of the entire masticatory system. If there is an immediate concern, it may need to be addressed first, then followed by a comprehensive evaluation.

The purpose of this 10 POINT evaluation is quite simple. You and Dr. Tarantola learn together about the condition of all parts of your masticatory system. These parts include your teeth, the periodontal support of the teeth, the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) that facilitate the movement of your lower jaw, and the muscles that move the jaw.

It is a step-by-step system-based evaluation, not just a symptom-based evaluation. Before you and Dr. Tarantola can determine what is possible for long-term stability with regard to comfort, function, health and esthetics, your current condition is assessed. This is without question the most important series of appointments we will have. Many of the disappointments individuals have with dentistry can be traced back to an incomplete evaluation and diagnosis.

Keep in mind that a comprehensive evaluation includes an assessment of temporomandibular joint function, muscle function and an assessment of how the upper and lower teeth function (or malfunction) in relation to one another. This assessment may also include models of your mouth

attached to an articulator (jaw simulator) for further evaluation. Dentists refer to the alignment and fitting together of your upper and lower teeth as your occlusion. During this evaluation, feel free to talk to us about any esthetic concerns you may have.

Carefully completing this evaluation and doing it in a way that you fully understand is the first step in formulating a lifetime plan that will help you achieve and sustain maximum oral comfort, health and esthetics with stability and longevity.

After this first appointment, Dr. then analyzes all the data, images and tests and develops a diagnosis and treatment plan along with exact fees and prepares a detailed, understandable report for you.

At another appointment, you and Dr. T will discuss the options, have all your questions answered and finalize a plan that fits and makes sense in your life and circumstances.

Dr. Tarantola’s approach allows you to move forward in a way that you feel you have all the information you need so that the decisions you make are in your best interest.


X-rays are important and necessary but they do not tell the whole story about the teeth, gums and mouth. Close-up, detailed photographs complete the story as they show many things not seen in x-rays such as gum condition, inflammation, recession, erosion, condition of fillings, condition of enamel, how the teeth bite, crowding, gumline cavities that are not seen on x-rays, etc. It not only helps us make a better diagnosis but also gives us a complete baseline so we have something to compare to at future cleaning appointments. Patients often ask things like – is the recession getting worse?, are my teeth getting more crowded?, are my teeth wearing down more?, is this filling breaking?, etc. Without this baseline, those types of questions cannot be answered correctly. It is always a better diagnosis if there are points in time to compare to see if there are changes. Also with a complete photo series like above, not as many x-rays are needed so it is safer.

Just because something is not “perfect” (an old filling, an old crown etc) does not mean it is a “problem”. It may just be an “observation”. A problem is something that needs treatment. An observation may not, it may just need close monitoring and that is what baseline photos help us do.

This is all part of our mission to be as complete and thorough as possible but in the most conservative way.


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