What to expect during Dental Exams and Cleanings

Nov 01, 2021

Good at-home dental hygiene and care is one of the best ways to maintain good oral health. However, you have to do more than that to ensure a lifetime of a healthier and natural smile. According to dental experts, you should have at least two dental exams and cleanings appointments per year.

The benefits of routine dental check-ups and cleanings go beyond keeping your mouth clean and preventing dental conditions such as tooth decay and gum disease. Good oral hygiene and health are crucial for your overall health too. They minimize the risk of developing systemic conditions such as stroke, heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and rheumatoid arthritis, among other chronic conditions.

What to Expect During Dental Exams and Cleanings

If you’re curious about what goes on during a routine dental exam and professional teeth cleaning appointment, here’s what to expect:

  1. Initial Consultation

After getting to the dental office, your dentist will begin by learning about your oral and overall well-being. They may ask you about existing dental or systemic conditions, existing medication, and hygiene routine. You should also talk to your dentist about any concerns or questions about the procedure or your oral condition.

  1. Dental Examination

Next, your dentist will go ahead and examine your entire mouth, including the teeth, tongue, cheeks, gums, and bones. The dentist looks for signs of oral issues such as oral cancer, cavities, and gum disease. If any problems are detected, the dentist will recommend the best course of action to take.

  1. Dental Cleaning and Polishing

Does a dental exam include cleaning? It does. Even with thorough brushing and flossing, you might not be able to clean your mouth efficiently, especially around the hard-to-reach areas at the back of your mouth. During a professional cleaning, the dentist uses a scaler to scrape off any plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth’ surface and around your gum line. If you have gum disease, the dentist goes deeper and removes plaque and tartar buildup underneath the gum line.

Next, the dentist also brushes, flosses, and rinses your teeth thoroughly to ensure no leftover plaque or debris. Mostly, the dentist will give you a fluoride-based rinse for added benefits. After cleaning, the dentist polishes the teeth, giving them a brighter and smooth look. A smooth surface makes it difficult for debris to attach to the teeth.

  1. Thorough Dental Exam

Now that your teeth are clean, the dentist will perform a thorough dental exam. They will look for potential problems such as gum disease, cavities, and infections. The dentist uses both physical and visual techniques to examine your mouth. If you have any dental restorations such as fillings, bridges, or veneers, the dentist will check them for damage and repair or replace them if needed.

If necessary, the dentist might also take x-rays images to study your condition further. X-rays allow the dentist to observe specific parts of your mouth that cannot be viewed by naked eyes. For instance, X-rays are required to study the jawbone for diseases or resorption.

Some dentists also perform an oral cancer screening during routine exams. The dentist inspects your mouth, gums, lips, neck, head, mouth floors, throat, and tongue. They look for early signs of oral cancer such as sores that don’t heal, white or red patches or lumps, bad breath, pain in the mouth, ear, or face, and pain when swallowing.

Please note that the types of dental examinations you’ll get may differ based on your unique situation.

  1. Results

Next, your dentist will share the findings of the exam. If any problem is detected, the dentist may recommend further testing or treatment options. The dentist may schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your oral health.

The dentist may also suggest preventive measures to improve and protect your oral health, especially if you’re at a high risk of developing dental issues such as gum disease and dental caries.

At-home Dental Hygiene Tips

Even with routine dental cleanings and exams, good at-home dental hygiene is essential. Use these tips to care for your mouth:

  • Brush and floss daily. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and replace it every three months.
  • Avoid abrasive dental products
  • Get regular dental cleanings and exams
  • Eat healthier and hydrate well
  • Avoid sugary, chewy, and acidic foods as they can increase your risk of developing cavities and gum disease. If you must take them, brush or rinse your mouth afterward.
  • Avoid tobacco products and excessive alcoholic use
  • Visit a dentist near you for emergency dental care
  • Seek treatment for dental conditions timely
  • Avoid hard foods as they can cause your teeth and dental restorations to chip, break, or fall out.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

Are you interested in a professional cleaning and dental examination procedure? Contact TLC Dental Care today to book an appointment with Dr. Terrie Cribbs.

865-247-5570 Request Appointment