What Happens During a Routine Dental Check-Up?

Has it been a long time since you last saw a dentist? Perhaps you’re trying to explain to your child what he or she should expect from a dental check-up. Here’s everything that happens during a check-up from the minute you walk in the door.

Dental Check-Up Step By Step


1. The receptionist welcomes you

Cheerful and pleasant receptionists welcome you. Now that they know you’ve arrived, they’ll call you as soon as the dentist is ready.

2. Your dental assistant escorts you to the consulting room

When the time for your check-up arrives, a dental assistant sees you to the consulting area. Her or she will be taking care of your comfort and helping the dentist throughout your check-up.

3. Give the background info

The dentist or the dental assistant will prepare for the consultation by checking on your medical history if this is a first-time visit. He or she will also sound you out about any problems you may have noticed. If you’re a nervous patient, be sure to spill the beans!

4. Scale and polish

Depending on the practice, either the dentist or an oral hygienist will give your teeth a scale and polish. “Scaling” is done by scraping away hardened plaque build-up in hard to reach places, and polishing buffs the teeth and smooths the surface. You’ll even get your teeth flossed for you!

None of these procedures should be uncomfortable, and if they are, you should say so, since this could point to a dental issue that needs to be investigated.

5. Your dentist gets to work

Now it’s time to take a very close look at your teeth to uncover the cause of any discomfort you may have and to look for other problems you mayn’t have been aware of. The dentist uses a metal probe and an angled mirror to probe and look at your teeth from every angle. While he or she is busy, the dentist looks for signs of gum disease and oral cancers. A little probing beneath he gum line will tell the dentist if your gums are still hanging onto your teeth in the way they should.

6. An in-depth look

If problems are suspected, or as part of general diagnosis, dental x-rays are taken. This is a very mild form of radiation, so don’t worry too much about it. You will bite onto what looks like a bit of plastic, and then the x-ray is taken. Some dentists have a scanning device that looks at all your teeth and creates an image for the dentist. You will rest your chin on a chin rest, and the machine will move around your face, capturing x-ray images of all your teeth.

7. Discussing your x-rays and checking your bite

By looking at your x-rays, your dentist will be able to tell you the nature and extent of any problems they picked up as well as giving you advice on treatment options. He or she will also check your bite to ensure your teeth align properly. Once you have your full treatment plan, you know exactly how much work you will have to do with your dentist to get your teeth and gums healthy again.

8. Back to reception

If your oral health is good, it’s just a matter of making payment and saying goodbye, but if you need further treatment, now’s the time to set your next appointment. The receptionist will check what suits you, and will hand you a little card with your next date and time written on it. Did you get a clean bill of health? Congratulations! See you in six months!

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