What Happens During A Dental Exam

Dental exam of Young Woman showing Mirror & Cleaning tool.

In this blog post our Cambridge dentists will explain what happens in a dental exam from the time you walk in through our door until the completion of your dental exam including:

  1. Reception
  2. Hygienist and/or CDA – reviewing your oral history
  3. Teeth Cleaning
  4. Dental X-rays (if required)
  5. Dental Exam
  6. Discussing Dental Exam Results
  7. Booking Follow-Up Dental Appointments

With so much good information now available online, dental education has really come a long way in recent years. In fact, over 80% of the Canadian population now visit their dentists annually for a regular check-up. Way to go Canada!

If you haven’t visited your dentist in a while, or if this is one of your child’s first dental visits, this page will help. Prevention is your best defense against oral health issues. Below, we outline what you can typically expect when you come in for a dental exam at our Fergus clinic, Toronto clinic, or Cambridge dental clinic.

Reception

As you walk into one of our Ontario dental clinics our friendly receptionists will greet you. Our receptionists help verify your appointments and get you to your dental specialists. They will also make sure everything runs smoothly, including handling the billing and scheduling any necessary future follow-up appointments. Please bring all your insurance information so that we can bill your insurance directly and minimize or eliminate any out-of-pocket fees based on your coverage eligibility.

Hygienist, CDA & Teeth Cleaning

After reception you will be directed to the hygienist and/or our certified dental assistant (CDA).

Hygienist – Before cleaning your teeth, the dental hygienist will first examine, assess, and report on your oral health. They look to work with your dentist to protect against oral disease. They also assist in educating you on proper preventative dental care like brushing and flossing correctly. The dental hygienist will remove any tartar or plaque build-up before cleaning and polishing your tooth enamel. Throughout this initial oral health assessment and cleaning the hygienist will be looking for problem areas including cavities, softening of the dentin and tooth enamel, swollen gums, gum disease, or sores inside the mouth. This information will be passed on to the attending dentist, who also supervises the dental hygienist. See also, our blog entitled, What Do Dental Hygienists Do?

Dental Assistant – Our dental assistants are an integral part of the dental healthcare team. Along with collecting and confirming patient information (including medical history), our dental assistants help to setup and maintain the dental equipment and may assist our dentists during your dental exam.

Dental X-Rays

If they feel it is required, the dental hygienist will also take dental x-rays for the attending dentist. These x-ray pictures will help reveal any other hidden issues below the gum line including your bone structure and the roots of your teeth. We now use only digital x-ray equipment because it is safer (up to 90% less radiation), takes more accurate images, and the images are immediately available. For more information, see our blog article entitled Dental Digital X-Ray Vs Film Radiation.

Dental Exam

Only your dentist is qualified to do a thorough dental exam and will do so using the x-ray images and the initial oral health assessment conducted by the assisting hygienist. The types of things your dentist will be looking for may include:

  • Gum disease
  • Soft tissue diseases (including oral cancer)
  • Bone loss or fractures
  • Exposed roots
  • Early signs of potential cavities
  • Teeth grinding and chipped or cracked teeth
  • Teeth positioning and jaw alignment issues
  • Inspecting any previous dental work you may have had done
  • Appropriate referrals to our in house dental specialists

Depending of what the dentist finds, he or she will be able to decide what other corrective dental procedures may be necessary to ensure both your oral health and your overall health.

Discussing Your Exam Results

Your dentist will do everything possible to try and help you keep you own teeth and may recommend certain corrective procedures, depending on what he or she finds. These may include crowns, bridges, dental bonding, fillings, implants, veneers, or root canal treatment. Your dentist can even help you with TMJ and Bruxism if you clench or grind your teeth. Depending on the procedure required, you may need to schedule a follow-up dental appointment.

Follow-up Dental Appointments

After your dental exam you will again see our receptionist. Depending on what your dentist recommends for follow-up treatment, our receptionist will help you schedule a time that is convenient for your follow-up appointment. They will also be able to address any additional questions you may have. For most dental patients, follow-up appointments may only involve regularly scheduled dental checkups and cleanings.

About Country Dental

With a Country Dental clinic now in Cambridge, in Toronto, and in Fergus, we are here to serve you whenever you need dental care. We even offer 24-hour emergency dental services and our Country Dental clinics are open 7 days a week. We offer family dental services plus dental financing through PayBright. We also have a Pediatric Dentist on staff.

For updates, please follow us @CountryDental on twitter and/or like us on Facebook.

If you still have questions about what to expect during a dental exam or if you wish to book a dental appointment, please call our Ontario dentist office in the clinic nearest you:

Toronto:416-335-7377
Cambridge:519-620-7474
Fergus:519-787-7878

For more information about dental exams, visit this Canadian Dental Association page.