What to Expect from a Dental Exam

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It is important that you take good care of your teeth, and that you visit your dentist at least once each year for an examination of your teeth to make sure that they are healthy. But, some people have dental fears, and don't get the examinations they need, and end up with serious dental problems later in life. In fact, there are many adults who haven't been to a dentist since childhood, and they have fears because they don't know what to expect. If you haven't been to a dentist in a while, here is what you can expect when you go in for an examination.

General Examination

The first thing the dentist is going to do is a general examination of your teeth. He or she will be looking for any problems that need to be taken care of right away, as well as anything that could cause dental problems in the future. The dentist may use a probing tool to check for decay in your teeth, and will recommend certain courses of treatment, such as fillings, for any immediate problems they find.


The dentist may want to take X-rays of your teeth to look for problems that can't be seen with a visual inspection. This is not something that is done during every examination, but if this is your first time to the dentist in many years, you can expect to have some X-rays taken. These will show any cavities or other issues that are below the enamel, such as early cavities or even bone loss. Dental X-rays are safe, but due to radiation exposure, they are not recommended for women who are pregnant.


Rather than make a separate appointment for a dental cleaning, the dentist will often do it during a regular examination. They will scrape away any tartar from the teeth, as well as on and beneath the gum line. Once the tartar has been removed, the dentist will then use a polish to make your teeth shiny. At this point in the examination, the dentist may recommend certain dental care products, such as specific types of toothbrushes, mouth wash rinses, etc.

Cancer Screening

Your dentist (like those at Bruce Stevens For Everything Dental) may also want to do a screening for oral cancer. This involves checking for any problems with the soft tissues (gums). If there are any signs, such as a receding gum line or other abnormalities, he or she may recommend that a biopsy be performed to check for oral cancer.