You can expect a full examination of your teeth, jaws, bite, gums, and oral tissues to check for growth and development. If necessary, gentle cleaning can be performed, followed by polishing the teeth and removing plaque, tartar and stains. Your dentist can conduct a small tutorial on how to use dental floss and fluoride properly. New patient appointments and visits after more than a couple of years have passed usually require x-rays.
The dentist wants to have a complete picture of what's going on inside the teeth, gums, and supporting bone structures. Typically, as part of a dental checkup appointment, patients are offered professional dental cleaning performed by our dental hygienists. This will give your teeth a deep clean to remove any plaque or buildup that may be difficult to reach with a toothbrush. If you are unable to opt for professional cleaning during your dental checkup appointment, you can book an appointment with the dental hygienist at another time that suits you.
You will be asked to bite a small eyelash, while the dentist uses an X-ray machine to take a series of pictures of your mouth from various angles. If your dentist recommends band 2 or band 3 dental treatment, a personal dental treatment plan (PDF, 19 kb) will be provided to you in advance. A tool called a periodontal probe, which can be metallic or ultrasonic, helps the dentist find trouble spots. A checkup allows the dentist to see if you have any dental problems and helps keep your mouth healthy.
Many of us have become accustomed to going to the dentist every 6 months, but you may need to go more or less often than this, depending on how healthy your mouth and teeth are. If a dentist recommends additional dental treatment, they will provide you with an estimate of the cost in advance. All of this is intended to give the dentist an overall impression of your oral health, but if you feel uncomfortable and want to skip this part and go straight to the exam, then it's important to say so and the dentist will be happy to fulfill your wishes. If you have experienced any pain, discomfort, or unusual sensations, or if you have any concerns, such as bad breath or an unusually dry mouth, tell your dentist for advice on the best course of action.
You may have to pay a copayment when you are in the office or have your dentist bill you the balance after your insurance pays it. Sometimes, a dentist may suggest a different treatment if it is further investigated or because the health of the mouth, teeth and gums has changed since the initial evaluation. The dentist will then introduce himself and may ask you some questions about your dental health routine (how often you brush, floss, etc.), as well as your eating habits and other lifestyle factors that could affect your teeth, such as smoking and consuming alcohol. For example, if you want your teeth straightened, a dentist can refer you to an orthodontist, who specializes in that type of dentistry.
Depending on what the dentist finds during the exam, he or she will recommend a treatment plan that will take care of the most needed care first.