Dental Examinations and Cleanings

Dental Examinations and Cleanings

Dental Examination

A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by your dentist at your initial dental visit.  At regular check-up exams, your dentist and hygienist will provide the following:

  • Diagnostic x-rays (radiographs):  Essential for detection of tooth decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss.  X-rays also help to determine tooth and root positions and tooth formation.
  • Examination for tooth decay:  All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay.
  • Examination of existing restorations:  Check the current status of existing fillings, crowns, etc.
  • Gum disease evaluation:  Check the gums and bone levels around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
  • Oral cancer screening:  Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, soft tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.

Professional Dental Cleaning

Professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis) are performed by Registered Dental Hygienists.  Your cleaning appointment will include the following:

  • Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth 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 instruments.
  • 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 periodontal disease.
  • Teeth polishing: Removal of stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.