Everyone should have at least one dental check-up per year. Far from being a quick look at the teeth, the typical checkup is designed to provide the basis for ensuring your teeth remain in the best possible condition. In the event an issue is identified, the checkup is the starting point for correcting whatever’s wrong. While different dental professionals have their own structure for checkups, the following elements are sure to be included.
Who Will You See?
When you arrive for the dental check-up, expect to spend a little time with two members of the office staff. A receptionist will greet you and make sure you are signed in properly. This person will also help you with ensuring your patient file is up to date, including your dental coverage or the mode of payment you normally use for dental work.
The office manager is also likely to spend a few moments with you. The manager will ensure you are assigned to a room and that you are settled in comfortably. Depending on the individual office procedure, the manager may also be the one who will ask a couple of quick questions. These are designed to determine if there is anything in particular the dentist needs to look for once the exam proper begins.
You’ll also see a hygienist who will take care of the early stages of the checkup. The work of this professional is to manage the preliminary tasks that prepare you to see the dentist. Typically, the hygienist reports any findings to the dentist. Those will come in handy once the dentist begins to examine your teeth and gums.
Finally, you will see the dentist. This is where the in-depth portion of the exam begins. All information collected up to this point is taken into account. In the best-case scenario, the dental check up in Markham, Ontario will reveal that your teeth and gums are in great shape and no dental work is needed at this time.
You already know that the first people you see will have some questions. Along with making sure your patient file is up to date, expect some questions about how well your teeth are doing. That includes asking if you experience any discomfort while chewing, drinking hot or cold beverages, or if you have noticed any random pain since the last visit.
You will also be asked a few basic questions about how often you brush, do you use floss, and if you have noticed any issues with bad breath lately. These are all designed to help get an idea of what sort of daily dental hygiene routine you follow.
The responses that you offer will be passed on to the dentist before the professional sees you. They will help guide the process for the dental check-up to some degree and may lead to more questions by the dentist. Expect the dentist to check your teeth while asking some of those questions.
A Quick Cleaning
The hygienist will perform a quick cleaning as a way to begin the initial stages of the dental check-up. The idea is to remove any plaque or residue that may be found in between the teeth. Doing so will make it easier for the dentist to examine the condition of each tooth later in the process. Keep in mind that the cleaning, like the other elements of the process, are all included in the basic dental check up cost.
Followed by Polishing
The quick cleaning is not the only process used to remove residue from the teeth. You’ll also find that the dental check up procedure involves polishing the surfaces. This helps to remove other residue from the surfaces and provide a better idea of the actual condition of each tooth.
The good news about the cleaning and polishing is that they also help improve the appearance of your teeth. The process is perfectly safe, even if you are undergoing a dental check up while pregnant.You’ll also enjoy the fresh sensation that this advance work provides long after you leave the dental clinic.
The Actual Examination
With the preliminaries completed, the dental check-up will get underway in earnest. Your dentist will come in, go over the results thus far with you, and may have a question or two. From there, it will be time to closely examine the condition of the gums and take a closer look at each of your teeth.
The goal is to identify any small issue that may be developing. The cleaning and polishing remove residue that might disguise something like a tiny amount of decay on a tooth, or maybe even a small chip that you don’t realize took place.
Throughout your time with the dentist, expect the professional to not rush. That’s because some signs of emerging dental issues are difficult to spot. Even with a trained eye, it may take a lot of concentration to determine if everything is fine or if there is a problem that needs to be resolved now or at least in the near future.
Remember that some of the elements of the dental exam vary based on the age of the patient. That means a dental check up for toddlers is a little different than one done for a teenager. Both would be slightly different from the type of checkup that an adult would receive.
Time for X-Rays
There’s a good chance that your dentist will want to have some X-rays taken. They will help determine if there is any irregularity beneath the tooth surfaces, or some issue developing in the gums. While it’s true that X-rays are often associated with having a dental check up before surgery, many dentists find them helpful with routine check ups as well.
Planning the Next Steps
Your time with the dentist will determine what needs to happen next. If your teeth and gums are in excellent condition, the most likely scenario will be that you will need to make an appointment for a full cleaning within the next six months. If there are any issues identified by the dental team, the dentist will take with you about setting up a schedule to resolve them.
For example, perhaps you have a tooth with a small cavity. If there is not time to remove the decay and fill the tooth today, the dentist will want to make an appointment before you leave.
Remember that the goal for any dental check-up is to protect the health of your teeth and gums. Make sure you allow for some extra time in case there is a minor issue that needs correcting. When there is a problem and it has to wait for a short time, make sure you don’t put off those follow up visits. In the long run, doing so will ensure you get to keep your natural teeth for more years.