In this blog, we’ll look at the following:
- What To Expect During A Regular Dental Exam
- Why You Need Regular Dental Exams
- Do You Get X-Rays At A Dental Exam?
- What Do Dental X-Rays Diagnose?
- Do I Need To Prepare For My Exam?
- Dental Exam FAQ
What To Expect During A Regular Dental Exam
Your routine dental exam consists of two parts: a cleaning and an oral exam. These processes work together to maintain oral health and address issues like tartar build-up or signs of periodontitis (gum disease).
Part 1: Teeth Cleaning
A licensed dental hygienist will do your cleaning. They’re responsible for educating you on how to care for your teeth in between appointments. During the cleaning, your hygienist removes built-up plaque and tartar on your teeth using a handheld or ultrasonic power scaler. In some cases, they may use both tools to remove all build-up effectively. After this, they will use a dental handpiece with a special paste to polish your teeth, followed by flossing.
Part 2: Oral Exam
For the oral exam, your hygienist looks at your gumline health and the deep pockets around your teeth. They’ll note any visual signs of periodontitis on your dental charts. You may be asked about any tooth pain or sensitivity you’ve been experiencing or other concerns. If you had x-rays taken, this would be when your doctor can let you know of any abnormalities requiring a follow-up appointment.
Why You Need Regular Dental Exams
Regular dental visits are an essential part of long-term preventative oral care. During your appointment, your hygienist uses specialized tools to remove tartar and plaque build-up that your toothbrush at home may be unable to. Likewise, x-rays and a thorough oral exam can diagnose health concerns like gingivitis or signs of oral cancer.
Do You Get X-Rays At A Dental Exam?
Dental X-rays are usually taken at the first visit and every six to 18 months following this. X-rays allow your dentist to evaluate the state of your teeth and gums and diagnose health problems that must be addressed.
What Do Dental X-Rays Diagnose?
X-rays aid in diagnosing existing problems, such as impacted teeth, abscesses, and tooth decay. Likewise, your dentist can use X-rays in future appointments to determine if there have been any changes to your teeth or gums.
Do I Need To Prepare For My Exam?
Aside from practicing good oral hygiene throughout the year, there are other measures you can take to prepare for your exam.
Arrive 15 minutes early to complete the necessary paperwork. These forms can sometimes be emailed or downloaded prior so you can bring them in filled and save time.
List of Medications and Medical History
Have a list of all over-the-counter and prescription medications you’re taking and any health conditions you have, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and drug allergies.
Dental Exam FAQ
Modern X-ray machines emit virtually no radiation (no more than you would receive from a day in the sun or watching TV). Your hygienist will still place a lead apron over you for precautionary measures.
It’s recommended that you have a regular dental checkup every six months.
A dental exam looks for and removes built-up plaque and tartar. The hygienist also looks for abnormalities and signs of gum disease during this portion of the visit.
Regular exam appointments can take 30 to 60 minutes.