Medically reviewed by Dr. James Ko

What Happens at a Dental Check Up?

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8 months ago

How long has it been since you had a dental check-up? Perhaps you are a parent attempting to arrange a first dental check up for toddlers or wondering if you should have a dental check up while pregnant.

Whether you are going for a first check up or trying to get back into the habit of annual exams or think that it might be a good idea to have a dental check up before surgery of some kind, it pays to learn more about what to expect. Here is how things are likely to go with the check up whatever your circumstances.

Setting Up or Updating Your Patient File

Are you seeing a new dentist or one that you’ve seen previously? In either case, the issue of your patient file will have to be addressed before the dental check-up gets underway.

New patients will fill out documents for a file. The information collected will have to do with your previous dental history, your medical history in general, and your basic contact information. You will also need to provide information about how you will pay for the services rendered.

Read more: What are Some of The Benefits of Having the Teeth in a Day Procedure?

Remember that if you have dental insurance, the staff will want to make a copy of your card. This will make it all the easier to process the claims and file them on your behalf. If you don’t have insurance but do participate in some type of medical loan program offered through the practice, that will also be noted in your patient file.

Most dental clinics offer multiple ways to be contacted about future appointments. The details in your patient file will note if you want to be contacted via text, phone call, or through the post.

You should also provide an emergency contact to include in the file. That person would be contacted if you experienced any type of health emergency while at the dental clinic.

When you are returning to the same dentist after not seeking treatments for some time, the staff will help you go over the information in your patient file. Anything that needs to be updated can be managed at this time. Once the documentation is in order, settle into the waiting room and you’ll be called back to an exam room shortly.

Spending Time With the Dental Hygienist

Your dental check up in Markham, Ontario will begin by spending some time with the dental hygienist. The purpose is to prepare your teeth for the exam that the dentist will manage. Your hygienist will check your teeth while performing a quick cleaning and polishing. The goal is to remove any plaque and other residue that may be on the surfaces and in between the teeth. When it’s time for the dentist to check your teeth, making sure they’re clean will allow the professional to examine them thoroughly.

Read more: Why Do I Need a Crown?

The Dentist and the First Phase of Your Check Up

The dental check-up will begin with a visual examination of your teeth. In order to manage the check up, the dentist will use a series of instruments as well as lights that make it possible to examine the gums and the teeth closely. Expect the professional to use mirrors as well as lighting to check the fronts and backs of all of your teeth. Special care is taken to examine the gum tissue around the base of your teeth as well as the gums in general.

Specifically, the dentist is looking for any signs of weakened enamel, darker spots on the teeth that indicate the development of decay, and any signs of teeth grinding or chipping. The hue of the gums is also considered carefully, since any discoloration could indicate the presence of an infection.

Entering the Second Phase

The second phase of the dental check up procedure will involve taking X-rays. They help to reveal any issues that may not be apparent on the surface. Those X-rays can also provide more information about any irregularities that the dentist identifies during the initial visual assessment. For example, the shade of the gum tissue may indicate that there is some sort of infection present. You can bet that the X-rays will determine if there is any type of swelling or inflammation around the base of any tooth.

At this point, you’ve completed most of the basics for your dental check-up. Once the X-rays are reviewed, the dentist has one more step that must be completed.

Read more: Why Is It Important to Get Teeth Cleaned?

Don’t Forget The Oral Cancer Screening

Before your dental check-up is finished, expect the dentist to conduct a quick oral cancer test. While this is a good idea at any age, most dentists recommend the testing for anyone over the age of fifty. The test does not take long at all. In fact, your dentist may include the test as part of the basic exam. Consider this as one of the best ways to determine if there is a problem, and an important way to deal with it before the cancer can get worse. Most people who have the test and receive treatment early on make a full recovery.

Going Over the Results

With the exam and testing completed, the dentist will go over the results with you. In most cases, things will be fine. There may be some suggestions about trying a different type of toothbrush, suggestions on how to floss more effectively, and other tips that help you improve your efforts at dental hygiene and care.

During this phase of the dental check-up, feel free to ask any questions that have not been answered up to this point. Dental professionals want their patients to be informed and are happy to spend the time answering questions about everything from how to brush properly to why cleaning the tongue is so important to controlling bad breath.

Making Plans for Future Treatments

When there is the need to schedule procedures that will correct an existing dental issue, your dentist will discuss each one and even what options for treatment would make a difference. Just as you know the dental check up cost in advance, the office staff can provide an estimate of what those procedures will cost. They can also check with your insurance provider to see if the procedure is covered and how much the plan will pay. That helps you to get an idea of how much you will need to cover out of pocket.

Remember that a dental check-up is a proactive way to enjoy the best in dental health. If it’s been some time since your last one, make the call today. Doing so could make a difference in how well your teeth look and feel in the year to come.

Andrea Galick

Andrea Galick is an accomplished Dental Hygienist (RDH) with a passion for helping patients achieve optimal oral health. Andrea has built a reputation as a caring and skilled practitioner who puts her patients at ease and provides individualized care that meets their unique needs.

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Everyone here is very friendly and provides excellent care. I received a full exam on my first visit, and everyone took time to answer my questions and ensured I felt comfortable the entire time - exactly what you want when visiting the dentist. I highly recommend Markham Smile Centre for anyone looking for great dental care.


There is an ample parking space before you get into the office. The receptionists welcome us friendly with proper COVID-19 procedures in place. The staff worked with patient very patiently and professionally. My teeth cleaning was done by Ying, she explained every detail to me and I did not feel any pain or uncomfortable at all. Thanks to the best team !


It's been a while since I've been to a dentist but I'm trying to get back on track with health in general. Overall it was great going to Markham Smile Centre! The receptionist (I believe she was Kim) was friendly. The hygienist, Ying, was attentive and gentle during the cleaning; x-ray tech (forgot her name, sorry!) was great too. Dr. Sara Riad explained things with good detail. Looking forward to going back!


I was someone who was nervous and anxious about visiting the dentist, but the team at Markham Smile Centre has made me feel SO comfortable. Kim is so patient and helpful and Dr. Hwang and Rory are both so professional and wonderful. They thoroughly explain the procedure to make you comfortable beforehand and are very gentle. I now look forward to visiting the dentist!


I found this place on a whim when I was looking for a new dentist in Markham. My hygienist ying was super nice and her cleaning was very gentle yet thorough. I saw Dr.Jason and he was very nice and informative in regards to what needs to be done and provided me with all the information I needed to make a choice. Would recommend this place to anyone looking for a new dentist, they’re accepting new patients!!


I have been to many dentists in my life, Dr. Jason is easily the best dentist I have ever been too. He does everything he can to make you comfortable no matter the procedure and is a true professional, as does all the staff at Markham Smile Centre. Truly an amazing dentistry


The clinic was clean and the staff was very polite. I particularly liked the fact that everything was explained to me before going in for the procedure so I knew what to expect at each step. The dental hygienist who did the cleaning for me was also very gentle and took my concerns into consideration. I will definitely recommend them.


Upon arriving to the Markham Smile Centre, my son and I were greeted with a warm welcome by the receptionists. The hygienists and Dentist were very gentle and transparent with what they were doing. The hygienist that worked on my 9 year old son was patient and very friendly with him, which helped ease his nerves. Our overall experience was A+.


Since I was little, I have always hated going to the dentist... Its always uncomfortable and unpleasant. These days, visiting the dentist isn’t so bad! Dr Jason, Rory, and the lovely staff at reception make the experience 100x better. I have had absolutely no issues with the gum graft and cleanings that I’ve gotten done here. Everyone is incredibly friendly and helpful, even when I’m calling in or emailing a hundred questions :). I would highly recommend Markham Smile Centre.


Love this place! All the staffs are friendly and Professional and I mean all, cause I've been to most of their office, Markham , Stouffville, North York, and Maple. Dr. Ko is very professional and patient. Whenever I have questions and concerns he would always reply me . I would say this this dental office take care of you all the way. I would highly recommend everyone to come here for any dental works. =)