If you haven’t been to the dentist in years, or you’re just curious about what really goes on in your mouth during a dental exam, we’ve got you covered. In today’s blog, we’re going to explain what goes on during a dental exam so you can manage expectations and understand why regular dental care is important.
Everything But The Teeth Exam
There’s more that goes into a dental exam than simply checking your teeth. Your dentist will examine your head, neck, jaw and bite to ensure growth plates and joints are performing as they should. They’ll also look inside your mouth at areas like your gums and tongue to look for signs of health conditions like diabetes or salivary gland problems.
Once all other areas have been examined, your dentist will move onto the focus of your exam, which are your teeth. They’ll look for a whole bunch of things, like cavities, enamel health, loose or cracked teeth, teeth spacing and growth, whether or not you’d benefit from orthodontic work and other aspects of tooth health. This helps them map out a treatment plan if anything out of the ordinary is found.
Examining the teeth with the naked eye is helpful, but x-ray imaging can help doctors spot problems that they can’t easily identify. X-rays help to show how root systems are looking and if nearby teeth are going to cause problems for one another. X-rays can also detect weak spots in our teeth so doctors know where fillings may be needed in the future. X-rays aren’t necessary at every exam, as dentist usually ask that you get yearly imaging, so expect it at every other dental checkup if you go every six months like the American Dental Association recommends.
Finally, the last part of the dental exam is the cleaning. This usually involves having the plaque and tartar removed from your teeth and between your teeth and gums, cleaning and polishing your teeth, and flossing to remove any last particles between your teeth. Your dentist may also add sealant to help protect your tooth enamel from breakdown. This is usually performed by a dentist or a dental assistant.
Those are the four main categories of experiences that commonly occur during a dental visit. Your personal experience may differ if you are having other dental work performed, but for the most part, those are the basics of a routine dental exam. For more information or to schedule your next appointment, reach out to Dr. Brooks’ office today.
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