The Dental Exam: What To Expect

The Dental Exam: What To Expect

Posted by Alta View Dental on Sep 16 2023, 10:09 AM

The Dental Exam: What To Expect

Whether you're a seasoned pro or a first-timer, knowing what to expect during your visit can help ease any anxieties and ensure you get the most out of your appointment. In this article, we'll take an in-depth look at the purpose of a dental exam and walk you through what happens during one. So sit back, relax (if that's possible at the dentist!), and let's dive into everything you need to know about your next dental check-up.

The Purpose of a Dental Exam

When it comes to dental exams, there's more to it than just a quick look at your pearly whites. The purpose of a dental exam goes beyond simply checking for cavities or gum disease. It serves as an opportunity for your dentist to assess the overall health of your mouth and address any concerns you may have.

During a dental exam, your dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth, gums, and oral tissues. They'll check for signs of decay, such as cavities or enamel erosion. They'll also evaluate the condition of your gums, looking for any redness, swelling, or bleeding that could indicate gum disease.

But it doesn't stop there! Your dentist will also conduct an oral cancer screening during the exam. This involves carefully examining all areas of the mouth – including the lips, tongue, cheeks, and throat – to identify any abnormalities or suspicious lesions.

Another important aspect of a dental exam is assessing your bite and jaw alignment. Your dentist will evaluate how well your upper and lower teeth fit together when you close your mouth (also known as occlusion). Issues with bite alignment can lead to problems like TMJ disorder or excessive wear on certain teeth.

In addition to these assessments and evaluations, a dental exam provides an opportunity for preventive care. Your dentist may recommend professional cleaning (scaling) to remove stubborn plaque buildup or tartar from hard-to-reach areas in order to prevent future oral health issues.

The purpose of a dental exam is not only about treating existing issues but also about preventing potential problems down the road. By keeping up with regular exams every six months (or as recommended by your dentist), you're taking proactive steps towards maintaining good oral health and enjoying that confident smile for years to come!

What Happens During a Dental Exam?

During a dental exam, you can expect the dentist to thoroughly examine your teeth and gums. This usually involves several steps to ensure that your oral health is in good condition.

The dentist will conduct a visual examination of your mouth. They will look for any signs of tooth decay, gum disease, or other oral issues. This includes checking for cavities and inspecting the overall condition of your teeth.

Next, the dentist may take x-rays of your mouth. X-rays can reveal hidden problems such as impacted teeth or bone loss. These images provide valuable information that helps dentists make accurate diagnoses and develop appropriate treatment plans.

Afterwards, the dentist will perform a thorough cleaning of your teeth. Using specialized tools, they will remove any plaque or tartar buildup on the surfaces of your teeth and along the gumline. This process also includes polishing to remove surface stains and leave your smile looking fresh and bright.

In addition to examining your teeth and gums, the dentist may also assess other aspects of oral health during an exam. They might check for signs of oral cancer by feeling around areas like lymph nodes in your neck or checking for red or white patches inside your mouth.

A dental exam is an essential part of maintaining good oral health. It allows dentists to identify potential problems early on so that they can be addressed before they become more serious issues.


Regular dental exams are an essential part of maintaining good oral health. By visiting your dentist regularly, you can catch any potential issues early on and prevent them from becoming more serious problems. The purpose of a dental exam is to assess the overall health of your teeth and gums, identify any areas that need attention or treatment, and provide preventive care to keep your smile in optimal condition.

By knowing what to expect during a dental exam, you can approach it with confidence and make the most out of each visit. Remember that communication with your dentist is crucial; be sure to share any concerns or symptoms you might have so they can address them appropriately.

Overall, keeping up with regular dental exams is vital for not only maintaining a healthy smile but also promoting better overall well-being. So don't put off those appointments - schedule yours today!

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Dr. Richard Hughes is one of the most renowned and compassionate dentists practicing today, with over 30 years of experience dedicated to the inspired, focused results his patients enjoy.

Since earning his Doctorate of Dental Medicine from the University of Louisville, Dr. Hughes has continued his education through some of the most highly regarded institutions in the country.

A native of Utah, Dr. Hughes resides in Sandy where is involved with the community and his patients in the area. He and his wife Cindy, have been married over 40 years and have been blessed with three children and 8 grandchildren. Dr. Hughes enjoys the outdoors and can often be found pursuing cycling, sometimes logging over 4,000 miles a year.

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