On your first visit, your dentist will take a full health history. On follow-up visits, if your health status has changed, make sure to tell your dentist. Here’s what you can expect during most trips to the dentist, though depending on your oral history, your experience may vary.
A Thorough Cleaning
Checkups almost always include a complete dental cleaning, either from your dentist or a dental hygienist. Using special instruments, a dental hygienist will scrape along and below the gum line, removing built-up plaque and tartar that can cause gum disease, cavities, bad breath and other problems. Your dentist or hygienist will polish and floss your teeth during the visit and instruct you on oral care techniques and products to use at home for improved oral health.
A Full Dental Examination
Your dentist will perform a thorough examination of your teeth, gums and mouth, looking for signs of disease or other problems. The goal is to help maintain your good oral health and to prevent problems from becoming serious by identifying and treating them as soon as possible.
Depending on your age, risks of oral disease and symptoms, your dentist may recommend X-rays. X-rays can diagnose problems otherwise unnoticed, such as damage to jawbones, impacted teeth, abscesses, cysts or tumors, and decay between the teeth. If you are pregnant, inform your dentist, as X-rays should only be taken in emergency situations.