The dental examination is a diagnostic evaluation of a patient’s overall oral health and hygiene.
During a dental examination, the doctor or hygienist may…
- check for signs of decay or periodontal disease
- ask about any medications
- x-ray using low radiation digital imaging
- evaluate occlusion (bite)
- evaluate jaw
- discuss proper cleaning
- remove stains or debris
- take a dental impression
The doctor or hygienist may also perform an oral cancer exam. This involves feeling around the cheeks, gums, and tongue, under the jaw, and the sides of the neck for signs of oral cancer.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Exams
Why Do I Need A Dental Exam?
We want to provide the best service we can every time you visit our office, and regular dental exams help us understand your personal oral health needs. By performing a thorough examination, we can identify current issues with your mouth, and potential problems that may arise in the future.
There are a wide range of potential dental issues that can only be seen with extensive and x-ray examinations. This includes cavities, gum disease, wisdom teeth, and other dental issues you can’t identify by just looking in the mirror. With our comprehensive dental examination, we can find and treat oral health concerns before they cause your mouth any pain.
How Often Should I Get A Dental Exam?
We recommend dental examinations every six months. Depending on your personal oral habits, you may want to schedule examinations more or less frequently. Patients who smoke, suffer from frequent cavities, gum disease, and other common dental issues are especially advised to come in more frequently, especially when they experience pain.
Following good dental habits can reduce the risk of developing oral health infections, and reduce the need for regular dental examinations. Make sure you do the following to maintain your dental health:
- Brushing with a soft bristled toothbrush at least twice a day.
- Flossing and gently swishing mouthwash at least once a day.
- Use a fluoride based toothpaste when brushing your teeth.
- Brushing or using other specialized tools to clean your tongue every few days.
- Carefully maintain your diet, incorporating fruits and vegetables daily.
- Reduce the amount of starches and sugary foods that you consume.
- Avoid smoking, including cigarettes, pipes, and vaping.
How Can I Prepare For My Dental Examination?
Our dentists greatly appreciate it if you brush your teeth before you come in for your examination. It will speed up the appointment, and help us provide you with a more accurate understanding of your dental health. Generally, you do not need to fast from food or water before coming to your appointment.
We ask all new patients to fill out registration forms when they come to our office for the first time. We ask you to provide your oral and personal health history, your emergency contact information, and your insurance provider as you fill out these forms. You can fill out your patient registration form online and print it out before coming to your appointment to save time.
Can I Get a Dental Examination Done While Pregnant?
In general, it is very safe to have your dental x-rays done while pregnant. The amount of radiation emitted is very low, and pregnancy shields may be offered to some patients if there is any potential for harm. The examination is focused almost entirely on your head, further ensuring no harm should come to your unborn child while the x-rays are performed.
Multiple professional associations, including the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Dental association, have approved dental examinations for pregnant patients. Even so, if you are concerned about the impact it may have on your unborn child, please consult your doctor prior to your comprehensive dental examination.