Master the Comprehensive Examination

There are so many dentists. How do you differentiate yourself from others?

Let me quote the Google reviews that I am most proud of:

    • My first visit consisted of the most comprehensive dental exam I have ever experienced.
    • The absolute best dental exam I’ve ever had in my life…!
    • The most comfortable and detailed dental visit I’ve ever had.
    • Very detailed exam, never had that extensive an exam.
    • The most thorough examination I have ever experienced.
    • His examination was thorough, gentle and informative.
    • … the most thorough exam I have ever had…
    • If you need a dental exam, this is the place! I just experienced the most comprehensive exam I have ever received…cat scan, x-rays, mobility tests, gum recession measurement, mouth ph test…you name it, they did it! And the price was very reasonable!

So, what differentiates us as professionals? It’s not what we do. It’s how we think. And our thinking is expressed in our comprehensive examination of the patient.

Every exam in our practice includes an FMX, a CT scan, and photos taken by the assistant before I enter the operatory. The assistant goes over her observations with the patient and then briefs me about the patient’s chief concerns and her findings on the x-rays. That’s how the assistant learns and how the assistant can be a valuable resource to the patient.

Then I enter the operatory. How long does my examination take? Including conversation, it takes less than 30 minutes for most patients.

Here are some inexpensive tools that differentiate us from nearly everyone else.

    • pH paper to determine salivary pH. A low salivary pH is a risk factor for caries. You can find pH paper on Amazon.
    • Shim stock to find which teeth are in contact and which are not.
    • Light cervical traction is used in cases with headaches or a TMJ problem. You’ll be surprised at how often the neck influences the bite and how often a chiropractor or physical therapist can help the patient.
    • A phase-contrast microscope (which is not inexpensive but valuable) allows the periodontal patient to see the pathogenic bacterial plaque. That leads to, “I’d like to send a sample of that bacteria to a laboratory in Minnesota (OralDNA®) so that we can find out what that is.” No one refuses.

It is the examination that differentiates you from everyone else. Master the comprehensive examination. Then, differentiate the treatments that have to be done (infections) from the treatments that the patient may choose (elective treatment). We call them the “have to’s” and the “want-to’s.” Patients benefit from understanding that distinction.

Our comprehensive examination, including all X-rays, is $99.

Master the comprehensive examination. And watch your knowledge and satisfaction grow with your practice.

Dr. Lee Sheldon teaches treatment planning at no charge on his YouTube channel. Go to

Lee Sheldon DMD PA
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