A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by your dentist at your initial dental visit. At regular check-up exams, your dentist will perform the following:
- Examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
- Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
- Gum disease evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
- Examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
- Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.
Professional Dental Cleaning
Professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis) are usually performed by the dentist. 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 tooth for a long 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 instruments.
- Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky 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 (gingivitis). This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease!
- Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.