519-578-1300 Suite 26, 395 Greenbrook Drive Kitchener, ON N2M 4K1 19198 Book an Appointment

What Happens at a Dental Checkup?

Close up of a mouth slightly opened, exposing teeth and surrounded by a dental mirror and dental probe

Before scheduling that trip to the dentist you’ve been meaning to get around to, you may be wondering what to expect. Knowing what happens during a dental checkup is an easy way to alleviate any anxiety you may have and it will also help you to be more prepared for your dental checkup.

While individual dental checkups can vary depending on the dentist, most dental checkups tend to follow a similar structure. Generally speaking, most dental checkups have three parts: oral examination, x rays, and teeth cleaning.

 

Oral Examination:

During the oral examination phase, your dentist will use specialized dental tools to examine the inside of your mouth. Usually these tools are a dental mirror and a probe of some kind. Sometimes the probes may look sharp, but they are intended to check for sore spots or cavities in your teeth and are never used on soft tissue. Using the mirror and the probe, your dentist will check each of your teeth for sensitivity or cavities.

Your dentist will also inspect your gums during an oral examination. During this inspection, they will look specifically for swelling, redness, or other signs of disease. They will also evaluate the depth of your gingival, or gum, pockets and make sure they are not too deep. Gums with deep pockets can expose the root of your tooth and cause sensitivity.

Finally, your dentist will most likely check your bite to make sure everything is lining up the way it should be. An uneven bite can cause a host of dental issues, so it is very important to be sure your bite lines up properly. During your bite inspection, they will also check your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) to make sure it is not being strained.

 

X Rays:

Either after or before the oral examination, your dentist will perform x rays to see the bones that lie below the gum line. This usually includes the roots of your teeth, your jaw bones, and possible wisdom teeth. During dental x rays, you will be asked to bite down on a piece of plastic while the imaging machine moves around your face. Nowadays, dental x rays have ninety percent less radiation and are quick since many dentists use digital x rays.

 

Teeth Cleaning:

The final part of a dental checkup is usually some kind of teeth cleaning. Since much of dental care is aimed at preventing dental issues, this is a crucial part of visiting the dentist. During a teeth cleaning, a dental hygienist will use a special tool, called a scaler, to scrape excess tartar off your teeth. Sometimes a vibrating device may be used in place of a scaler. Once the cleaning is completed, a special polish is usually applied to the teeth to prevent further tartar buildup.

 

Once these three parts have been completed, or sometime before the teeth cleaning, your dentist will discuss their findings and possible treatments with you. They will take the time to explain everything and will answer any questions you may have. They will then make recommendations based on your results and inform you about any risks associated with future treatments. Now that you know what to expect at a dental checkup, what else are you waiting for? Book a consultation at Forest Hill Family Dentistry today!