What Happens During a Dental Exam?

A dental exam is essential for protecting oral health in children and adults. Checking the teeth and gums regularly can help detect oral issues before they become serious. If not treated early, dental problems can become painful and even dangerous. 

Exams provide information on the best ways to care for teeth and gums. Dental health professionals recommend dental exams annually or every six months, depending on the patient’s oral condition. 


Scheduling Dental Exams

Babies should get their first dental exam before 12 months and every six months after that. You will require frequent exams if you have oral issues such as cavities, gum disease, or bleeding gums. 

People with gum disease may need to visit the dentist three or four times a year. The visits allow the dentist to monitor the condition and prevent periodontitis, which can lead to tooth loss and infection. 


Benefits of a Dental Exam 

Dental exams provide an opportunity to spot oral issues early. Early detection helps deal with dental problems in the early stages when they are easier and cheaper to treat. Another benefit of regular exams is that they help provide preventative care. 

Patients receive information or education that can help them avoid potential oral problems. The exams can help detect underlying health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and high blood pressure.


Preparing for Dental Exams 

If you have particular health conditions, you may be required to take antibiotics before the dental exam. These are conditions including immune system disorders and heart problems. Your dentist will need to know if you have had recent surgery. 

You can find out about medications that you can take before the exam. If you suffer from anxiety about dental visits, talk to the dentist. If you schedule an exam for your child, ensure they relax and are comfortable. 


What Happens During the Exam

Most people find dental visits quite unsettling. Knowing what to expect can help give you peace of mind. The exam will usually include the following:


  • A health history overview, including any health conditions, medications, and oral issues.

  • Evaluation of the patient’s oral health and status of oral hygiene. It also includes examining the mouth for signs of issues such as oral cancer. 

  • Checking for signs of teeth wear or misalignment. Bite evaluation also includes looking for signs of jaw problems or teeth that may require replacement or restoration. 

  • Dental X-rays may sometimes check for oral issues that are not visible to the naked eye.

  • The exam includes dental cleaning, which helps remove the buildup of plaque and tartar. The cleaning removes stains that are impossible to clean during at-home cleaning. 

  • The dentist will evaluate the enamel and may conduct a fluoride assessment. If necessary, a fluoride treatment may be recommended. 


After the Dental Exam 

After examining your teeth, the dentist will discuss the findings and recommend treatments or solutions where necessary. The exam will include a discussion on daily oral hygiene. The dentist will provide information about the right tools and techniques. 

Dental exams are relatively pain-free and comfortable. If you suffer from dental anxiety, talk to the dentist about it before the exam. 

Contact Fei Hwang, D.D.S., Milpitas Family and Cosmetic Dentist, at our Milpitas, California office for more on what happens during a dental exam. Call (408) 729-7882 to schedule an appointment today.

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