What Happens at a Dental Check Up?

27 December, 2018 General Dentistry

How long has it been since you had a dental check-up? Perhaps you are a parent attempting to arrange a first dental check up for toddlers or wondering if you should have a dental check up while pregnant.

Whether you are going for a first check up or trying to get back into the habit of annual exams or think that it might be a good idea to have a dental check up before surgery of some kind, it pays to learn more about what to expect. Here is how things are likely to go with the check up whatever your circumstances.

Setting Up or Updating Your Patient File

Are you seeing a new dentist or one that you’ve seen previously? In either case, the issue of your patient file will have to be addressed before the dental check-up gets underway.

New patients will fill out documents for a file. The information collected will have to do with your previous dental history, your medical history in general, and your basic contact information. You will also need to provide information about how you will pay for the services rendered.

Remember that if you have dental insurance, the staff will want to make a copy of your card. This will make it all the easier to process the claims and file them on your behalf. If you don’t have insurance but do participate in some type of medical loan program offered through the practice, that will also be noted in your patient file.

Most dental clinics offer multiple ways to be contacted about future appointments. The details in your patient file will note if you want to be contacted via text, phone call, or through the post.

You should also provide an emergency contact to include in the file. That person would be contacted if you experienced any type of health emergency while at the dental clinic.

When you are returning to the same dentist after not seeking treatments for some time, the staff will help you go over the information in your patient file. Anything that needs to be updated can be managed at this time. Once the documentation is in order, settle into the waiting room and you’ll be called back to an exam room shortly.

Spending Time With the Dental Hygienist

Your dental check up in Markham, Ontario will begin by spending some time with the dental hygienist. The purpose is to prepare your teeth for the exam that the dentist will manage. Your hygienist will check your teeth while performing a quick cleaning and polishing. The goal is to remove any plaque and other residue that may be on the surfaces and in between the teeth. When it’s time for the dentist to check your teeth, making sure they’re clean will allow the professional to examine them thoroughly.

The Dentist and the First Phase of Your Check Up

The dental check-up will begin with a visual examination of your teeth. In order to manage the check up, the dentist will use a series of instruments as well as lights that make it possible to examine the gums and the teeth closely. Expect the professional to use mirrors as well as lighting to check the fronts and backs of all of your teeth. Special care is taken to examine the gum tissue around the base of your teeth as well as the gums in general.

Specifically, the dentist is looking for any signs of weakened enamel, darker spots on the teeth that indicate the development of decay, and any signs of teeth grinding or chipping. The hue of the gums is also considered carefully, since any discoloration could indicate the presence of an infection.

Entering the Second Phase

The second phase of the dental check up procedure will involve taking X-rays. They help to reveal any issues that may not be apparent on the surface. Those X-rays can also provide more information about any irregularities that the dentist identifies during the initial visual assessment. For example, the shade of the gum tissue may indicate that there is some sort of infection present. You can bet that the X-rays will determine if there is any type of swelling or inflammation around the base of any tooth.

At this point, you’ve completed most of the basics for your dental check-up. Once the X-rays are reviewed, the dentist has one more step that must be completed.

Don’t Forget The Oral Cancer Screening

Before your dental check-up is finished, expect the dentist to conduct a quick oral cancer test. While this is a good idea at any age, most dentists recommend the testing for anyone over the age of fifty. The test does not take long at all. In fact, your dentist may include the test as part of the basic exam. Consider this as one of the best ways to determine if there is a problem, and an important way to deal with it before the cancer can get worse. Most people who have the test and receive treatment early on make a full recovery.

Going Over the Results

With the exam and testing completed, the dentist will go over the results with you. In most cases, things will be fine. There may be some suggestions about trying a different type of toothbrush, suggestions on how to floss more effectively, and other tips that help you improve your efforts at dental hygiene and care.

During this phase of the dental check-up, feel free to ask any questions that have not been answered up to this point. Dental professionals want their patients to be informed and are happy to spend the time answering questions about everything from how to brush properly to why cleaning the tongue is so important to controlling bad breath.

Making Plans for Future Treatments

When there is the need to schedule procedures that will correct an existing dental issue, your dentist will discuss each one and even what options for treatment would make a difference. Just as you know the dental check up cost in advance, the office staff can provide an estimate of what those procedures will cost. They can also check with your insurance provider to see if the procedure is covered and how much the plan will pay. That helps you to get an idea of how much you will need to cover out of pocket.

Remember that a dental check-up is a proactive way to enjoy the best in dental health. If it’s been some time since your last one, make the call today. Doing so could make a difference in how well your teeth look and feel in the year to come.