Dental Check Up: What to Expect
Medically reviewed by Dr Jerry Jesin

Dental Check Up: What to Expect

Rate this article
4 votes — 5.0
7 months ago

Circumstances have made it easy to neglect your dental health. While there doesn't seem to be anything wrong, the idea of having a complete dental check-up has been on your mind lately. The thing is that it’s been so long since you had a checkup that you’ve forgotten what to expect. The process is not all that difficult. Once you schedule the dental exam and arrive at the appointed time, things will move along smoothly. Here is what you can expect to happen.

Updating Your Patient File

Since it’s been some time since your last dental check-up, the staff will want you to spend a little time updating your patient file. When this is your first visit ever, that means filling out all the basic documentation to create a file.

Be prepared to provide all the basic information, including your address and other contact data. Most files today will include a note defining your preferences for contacts, such as being reminded of appointments by phone, email, or text message.

You will also include data about your past dental and general medical history. That includes providing information on any types of medications you currently take. Many people are not aware that different types of health issues can impact the teeth and gums. Your history will also play a role in structuring any dental treatments you may need in the future.

Confirming Your Payment Method

You’ll also need to confirm your payment method during this first visit. If you have dental coverage, make sure to bring along your insurance card so the staff can make a copy for the file. When you have any type of dental payment plan that the clinic accepts, you should bring along proof of that too.

If you plan on paying in cash, it’s easy enough to provide the clinic with a credit card number to keep on file. Once the details about payment are settled, you can move on to the next phase of the dental check up in Mississauga, Ontario. That will involve being settled into an exam room and meeting with a hygienist for the first part of the actual dental check-up.

A Quick Cleaning

They hygienist will administer a quick dental cleaning. This will help remove most of the residue left behind by brushing and flossing. The goal is to remove anything that might obscure some minor dental issue. You’ll see why the cleaning was so important when the dentist arrives and begins to check your teeth.

Remember that the cleaning is part of the overall dental check up cost. In fact, every service provided during this appointment will have a direct connection to the check up itself.

Some Polishing Too

The cleaning is great, but there’s still one more quick treatment that you’ll receive before seeing the dentist. Polishing helps to remove any lingering residue from the teeth surfaces and ensure there is nothing to prevent the dentist from making a thorough visual assessment. As a bonus, the polishing will enhance that extra-fresh sensation that always comes with a teeth cleaning.

Once the polishing is finished, the hygienist will take one last look to ensure everything is ready. You can expect the hygienist to provide a quick overview of how the remainder of the dental check-up will proceed. The goal is to ensure that you understand all the basics of the dental check up procedure and feel comfortable with every step in the process.

Now You See the Dentist

During the cleaning and polishing, the hygienist likely made a few quick notes. Those are passed on to the dentist who will handle the dental check-up from this point. The notes may note something about the teeth or gums that the hygienist thinks the dentist should look at closely.

At other times, the notes may have to do with something that you shared with the hygienist. For example, you may mention that you’ve recently had a cold or that you just found you that you’re expecting. Those are important things for the dentist to know, since there are a few things that are a little different about having a dental check up while pregnant.

The dentist will begin with a thorough visual examination of your teeth and gums. This may involve a little probing and using lights to get a clearer view of different areas of the mouth. During this time, the dentist may have some questions about your dental hygiene habits, including things like the type of brush you use and if you floss daily or at least several times a week.

Remember the dentist is on the lookout for any signs of issues that are already developed or indications that you could be at risk for a problem to emerge. Along with what the professional sees, the questions that are asked all help to assess your current state and project what sort of dental care would be in your best interests.

Wrapping Up With Some X-Rays

The dental check-up is not completed until the professional orders a series of X-rays. While the visual examination will reveal a lot, the X-rays will tell the dentist what is happening underneath the surface. In the best-case scenario, they will reveal that there are no signs of infection or inflammation and that your bone density and root structure are in fine shape.

Just as a dental check up for toddlers differs from the way a check up is done for a young adult, the dentist will be on the lookout for certain signs of potential issues if you are nearing retirement age. For that reason, don’t think there is anything wrong if the dentist seems to take more time with certain tasks than you remember from years past. It only means the dental professional is following a recommended protocol based on your age.

Discussing Any Necessary Procedures

If you are in need of some type of procedure, the dentist will go over the findings and recommend a course of treatment. It may involve a single procedure or correcting the problem could require s series of procedures. The appointment for the first of those treatments can be arranged before you leave.

Remember that the dentist always has time for any questions that you want to ask. That includes asking about the need for a dental check up before surgery, how to take care of your teeth while pregnant, in what ways chronic health issues like diabetes could affect your teeth, and even things like how to improve your home dental hygiene routine.

Now that you know what to expect, be prepared to make the most of your next dental check-up. Remember to get into the habit of an annual exam plus at least one teeth cleaning per year. In the long run, it’s good for your smile and for your dental health in general. 

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.