A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by your dentist at your initial visit. At regular check-up exams, your dentist and hygienist will include the following:
- Examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help to determine tooth and root position.
- Oral cancer screening: An exam of the head and neck followed by a thorough exam of the lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
- Gum disease evaluation: An exam of the gums and jaw bone for any signs of periodontal disease.
- Examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be examined for signs of decay.
- Examination of existing restorations: A record of all current fillings and restorations present.
Professional Dental Cleaning
Professional dental cleaning (dental prophylaxis) is usually performed by Registered Dental Hygienists. Your cleaning appointment will include a dental exam and the following:
- Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the teeth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental scalers.
- Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of gingivitis and gum disease.
- Dental polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.