In some cases, your first visit with Kneib Dentistry may be due to an acute problem, such as injury, bleeding, or severe pain. The good news is that we can get you in quickly – usually the same day! This will be a shorter exam to address your immediate problem. After your dental emergency is treated, we will find a convenient time for you to return for a full evaluation and comprehensive dental exam.
What is a general dental examination?
General dental exams are the second part of the semi-annual dental checkup dentists recommend most patients receive. Every six months, patients will get a cleaning (called a prophylaxis) by a dental hygienist, followed by a dental exam by the dentist themselves.
Dental exams are designed to identify any problems with your teeth and gums before they develop into major issues. A dentist will also check for issues that may arise in the future, such as diabetes or heart disease, as well as screening for oral cancer.
How long do dental exams take?
While the full periodic dental check-up (which includes cleaning) usually takes about an hour, the dental exam itself is relatively short for most patients with healthy teeth and gums. As part of the cleaning and exam the dental care office staff will:
1. Complete an evaluation of overall oral health, including checking for symptoms such as pain or change in the way you bite or chew; checking to see if teeth are shifting; gums that bleed when brushing or are tender; persistent bad breath or taste in your mouth; loose teeth or pain when biting down.
2. Checking for any signs of oral cancer using an X-ray, if necessary
3. Removing any plaque and tartar on the teeth to prevent tooth decay and gum disease
4. Cleaning your teeth with a special instrument to remove plaque and tartar that brushing can't get rid of
5. Removing stains with special instruments or take-home products
6. Providing preventive treatments which are used to help stop oral health problems from occurring, such as fluoride gels, mouthwashes or antimicrobial rinses
How do I prepare for my appointment?
Ideally, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist six months after your last check-up. Most patients prefer to schedule their next appointment before they leave the current one.
Be sure to bring all the necessary information with you to your appointment, including any referrals from other healthcare professionals and an updated list of medications and supplements you are taking
If at all between appointments you have any concerns about your teeth or gums, you should contact your dentist so they can tailor your appointment accordingly, or request that you come in sooner than your scheduled appointment if your symptoms are cause for true concern.
What does the dentist check during my examination?
During an overall health check of your teeth and gums, the dentist will check for signs of inflammation or infection by observing the color of the tissue. The dentist will also feel for lumps and bumps, along with checking the teeth and gums for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, and other problems.
If you have a specific concern about your mouth, then your dentist should be able to address it during your appointment.
What is the importance of a dental examination?
Having a dental exam helps detect tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems early when they're easier to treat. As part of the exams and the corresponding cleaning, patients receive information about how to properly care for their teeth and gums.
Taking regular dental exams allows your dentist to identify any oral cancers, clean your teeth and remove tartar build-up, as well as check for any other health risks. Your dentist will examine your teeth and gums to detect any underlying conditions if you are at high risk for cardiovascular disease. Your dentist can also check the impact of certain medications and supplements on your oral health.