Whether you come in for your initial examination or your periodic examination, there are many things we assess as a part of your comprehensive dental examination.

With our increasing understanding of the links between oral and total body health,   Drs Horng and Fleming go through your medical history in depth to get to know you. Once we have that information, we then look into the following;

Gum and Bone Structure

The health of your gum is one determining factor of how healthy your body is. By examining your gums, we can pick up risk factors for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other chronic inflammatory diseases. We can even tell whether someone is a mouth breather or a nose breather. The health of your gums is directly linked to the health of the underlying bone support. If the gum and bone are not healthy, teeth can be lost.

Bite and Function

We are interested in whether you have a comfortable jaw joint and jaw muscles, which should allow you to eat without pain. It’s also important to look at how your teeth are wearing and whether you could continue to shorten or break your teeth due to your bite and jaw relationship. Your teeth should last a lifetime and NOT slowly deteriorate to the point that eating is not enjoyable anymore. Patients who clench and grind their teeth may also have a compromised airway (see below).

Oral Cancer

At your exam, we check for any signs of oral cancer. We look out for ulcers or a change in tissue colour. Currently this is the 7th most common cancer in Australia and 40% of patients diagnosed do not display social or lifestyle risk factors such as smoking. We have a tool called Identafi, which uses fluorescence and reflectance technology to enhance visualisation of abnormalities that may not be seen by the naked eye.


Most people are surprised that this is something your dentist can help you with. We check your nose, sinus, the back of your throat and your tongue. Compromised airways can lead to poor health. Snoring is just one symptom of this. Other signs include heavy wear on teeth, which is especially seen in children. According to Snore Australia, it is estimated that 9% of woman and 25% of men have sleep apnoea. Alarmingly sleep apnoea can shorten your lifespan by up to 15 years, which is considered worse than smoking. Learning difficulties and poor memory are some problems associated with sleep apnoea. If you show any signs of sleep apnoea (snoring, episodes of gasping, lack of energy), we may refer you to see a sleep physician to complete a sleep study


Your teeth should not wear, chip, shorten or discolour. You should only wear 1mm in length of your front teeth in your lifetime. Your teeth are made to last a lifetime. If you have any concerns about how your teeth look, then Dr Fleming or Dr Horng would be happy to discuss options with you. We helped many patients rebuild their smile and confidence through a detailed personalised assessment of their aesthetic needs before any treatment.

And of course…… Tooth Structure

At your exam your dentist will check every tooth and filling. It is essential to identify signs of cracks, breaks and cavities/decay early. If these issues are present and left untreated, they can lead to you needing extensive treatment such as root canal therapy or even extraction of a tooth. The balance of bacteria in your mouth, the acidity of your diet, home care and genetic risk factors are all assessed. Patients who have vitamin deficiencies can also be more prone to decays.

We take pride in offering you the most thorough dental examination here at Hartwell Dentistry.