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A thorough head and neck examination may arguably be the most important part of a comprehensive or periodic exam and can be valuable in helping diagnose a plethora of disorders, many of which require early detection for effective cure. With high utilization and recommendations of biannual preventative care visits, dentists can be pivotal in screenings and diagnosis. Systematic and regular screenings are key factors. The examination should cover lymph nodes, muscular anomalies or tension, asymmetrical growths, the temporomandibular joint and other head and neck structures, and form and function of facial anatomy. This article provides a thorough analysis of the flow of a dental head and neck examination, recommendations on implementing a more comprehensive exam with consistency in dental practice, a review of the normal anatomy, and methods to identify abnormalities and effectively follow up.
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