Smiles for Life National Oral health Curriculum: Module 7. The Oral Examination

Publication ID Published Version
9197 July 16, 2012 8


Smiles for Life Module 7, The Oral Examination addresses how to perform consistent and thorough oral examinations of children and adults. Clinicians will learn to differentiate between normal and abnormal findings, and will develop an awareness of the needs of special populations such as the elderly or medically compromised individuals.

Smiles for Life: A National Oral Health Curriculum is a product of the Group on Oral Health of The Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. Smiles for Life is the nation’s most comprehensive and widely used oral health curriculum designed for primary care clinicians. The 8 module course covers the relationship of oral to systemic health, child oral health, adult oral health, dental emergencies, oral health in pregnancy, fluoride varnish, and the oral examination.

The complete curriculum is web-based and is designed as an interactive educational tool for both individuals and groups from all aspects of the health care profession. It includes interactive online courses and clinical cases for individual and small group education, downloadable PowerPoint modules suitable for larger group presentations, instructional videos, and patient education materials. Free access to all materials is available at

The Smiles for Life (SFL) Curriculum including Module 5 Pregnancy and Oral Health have been endorsed by:

  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Society of Teachers of Family Medicine
  • American Academy of Physician Assistants
  • Physician Assistant Education Association
  • Association of Faculties of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
  • National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
  • National Interprofessional Initiative on Oral Health
  • American Association of Public Health Dentistry
  • Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association

The SFL Curriculum has been downloaded from our website more than 140,000 times ( including:

  • 58,000 courses
  • 77,000 supplements
  • 11,000 online courses completed

The SFL Curriculum is:

  • The core oral health curriculum used in 30+ medical schools
  • Utilized in most Family Medicine residency programs nationwide
  • Core curriculum for National Interprofessional Initiative on Oral Health

The SFL curriculum was awarded the Society of Teachers in Family Medicine (STFM) Innovative Program Award honoring excellence in development of an educational program in 2007 and received Letters of Commendation from the American Dental Association and American Academy of Family Physicians’ (AAFP) Commission on Education in 2011.


Deutchman M, Douglass A, Clark M, Douglass J, Gonsalves W, Maier R, Quinonez R, Silk H, Tysinger J, Wrightson A. Smiles for Life National Oral health Curriculum: Module 7. The Oral Examination. MedEdPORTAL Publications; 2012. Available from:

Contains time-sensitive information that will likely be inaccurate, obsolete, or irrelevant by March 01, 2015

Contains Information Suitable for Patient Education

Educational Objectives

  1. To review basic oral anatomy and characteristics of healthy teeth.
  2. To use proper equipment to perform an oral examination on adults, infants, and children.
  3. To perform a consistent, thorough, and nonthreatening oral examination of infants and children.
  4. To perform a consistent, thorough oral, face, and neck examination of adults.
  5. To understand some of the differences between normal and abnormal findings.
  6. To develop awareness of particular challenges involved in the examination of special populations.


  • Building Oral Health Capacity (BOHC) Collection


  • Medical
    • Family Medicine
    • Internal Medicine


  • Interpersonal & Communication Skills
  • Knowledge for Practice
  • Patient Care
  • Practice-based Learning & Improvement

Professional Interest

  • Evaluation of Clinical Performance
  • Instructional Materials/Methods
  • Oral Health
  • Quality Improvement

Instructional Methods

  • Independent Learning
  • Lecture

Organ Systems

  • Gastrointestinal system

Academic Focus

  • Clinical Sciences
    • Clinical Exam
    • Clinical Skills/Doctoring

Intended Audience

  • Professional School
    • Dental Student
    • Medical Student


  • Presentation

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ISSN 2374-8265