What are the Steps

What are the Steps to an Oral Examination?

Team General Dentistry

When you visit your dentist for a professional cleaning and oral examination, many services will be provided. While professional cleaning may be the most obvious service provided, the examination is equally crucial, as you’ll be fully screened for a variety of conditions that can potentially impact not just your oral health, but your overall health as well. Here are all of the steps your dentist, hygienist, and support staff will take during your oral examination and cleaning.

Medical and Oral Health History

Your dentist, hygienist, or dental assistant will first ask you about any changes to the function of your jaw or teeth, or any newly diagnosed health conditions. They may ask about new medications, any new onset of tooth or gum sensitivity, headaches, bleeding, etc. The information you provide will be recorded in your dental record.

Plaque Removal and Polishing

Your hygienist or dentist will begin removing plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth. Plaque tends to accumulate between teeth, at the gum line, and between teeth. They will use an ultrasonic device to loosen larger pieces of plaque first. Then, a tiny metal tool (hand instrument) will be used to scrape additional plaque from the teeth.  

They will then thoroughly floss between all of your teeth, before polishing your teeth with a spinning polisher that will remove any further plaque and leave your teeth feeling clean and smooth.

Preventative Screenings (Occasional)

Your dentist will determine how often you should have X-rays of your teeth and jaws. You are unlikely to need X-rays at every appointment. But if it’s been a year or more since your last x-rays, your dentist may need them. 

Likewise, if they need to see beneath the surface you may need X-rays. Incidentally, today’s digital X-rays are entirely painless and take just minutes. They also expose you to far less radiation than older, traditional X-rays. They are available to your dentist for viewing immediately. 

X-rays help identify tiny cracks in teeth, cavities in their earliest stages, and loss of bone, indicating gum disease. 

Oral Examination 

The oral examination will be conducted by the dentist. During this comprehensive examination, the dentist will be looking for any signs of disease, decay, jawbone deterioration, and gum recession. They will look for symptoms including changes to soft tissues, lesion development, or other abnormalities. 

They will also thoroughly examine the condition of your teeth. This includes looking for signs of weakening or softening enamel and dentin. They will look for excessive wear on the teeth (worn grooves) indicating jaw clenching or teeth grinding. Your dentist will also look closely at your gums, measuring periodontal pockets, and ensuring that the gums are not swollen or bleeding, indicating gum disease.

Your dentist will also evaluate the function of your jaw, prompting you to open and close your mouth. They may feel the jaw joint as you do so, to confirm the joint is not clicking, and to confirm proper alignment. 

Finally, your dentist will conduct a visual inspection of the head and neck to look for any signs of abnormalities that indicate further testing should be scheduled. 

If no problems are found during your oral examination and cleaning, you’ll be instructed to return in six months for your next cleaning and exam. If problems are identified during your appointment, your dentist will explain all treatment options and design a custom plan for your care.

Book an Oral Exam and Dental Cleaning in Carmel, NY

Carmel Dental Associates has served the Carmel, Brewster, Mahopac, Katonah, North Salem, Beekman, Yorktown Heights, and Patterson communities for nearly 30 years. To book an appointment with Dr. George Parlitsis, voted one of “America’s Best Dentists” and one of the “Hudson Valley’s Top Dentists” contact our friendly team at Carmel Dental Associates by calling 845-225-2224. If you prefer, you may send us a message to request an appointment.