A thorough soft tissue exam is an important part of a complete patient evaluation. This exam has always consisted of visualizing and palpating the oral soft tissues, but now we have a small selection of devices designed to help us perform this critical task. Certainly there is room for debate as to how successful these instruments are in finding lesions that would possibly be missed otherwise, but there is little doubt that the standard of care is changing.
There is even an insurance code (D0431) that corresponds with this procedure, but as always, the existence of a code does not mean your patients will automatically be covered. In the U.S., clinicians have been known to charge as much as $100 per year to perform this targeted exam of patients at their regular recall visits, but there is scant verified data on the collection success rate of practices who have instituted a separate fee.
Devices in this section are in a state of flux, with multi-functional instruments being the latest trend, but that should not stop you from seriously considering helping your patients now with what could be a life-saving exam.