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A routine dental exam, also known as a dental check-up, is a regular appointment with your dentist or dental hygienist, and is important for maintaining good oral health. Dental exams allow your dentist to detect any potential or evolving dental issues and prevent them from becoming more serious problems down the line. Dental exams are considered 'routine' because they should occur on a regular basis, as a compliment to your at-home, daily oral hygiene routine. They are typically recommended twice a year, but the frequency may vary depending on the individual's oral health needs. If you are due for a routine dental exam or have concerns about your oral health, we invite you to schedule an appointment with our friendly and experienced dental team at Woodbourne Dental. 


The things covered during your check-up typically depend on whether you have a specific concern (a reason for seeing the dentist, such as a toothache), whether you are a new patient or an existing patient with previous records and x-rays on file, and whether you have existing dental work that needs to be checked. A dental examination typically includes the following: medical history, oral cancer screening, dental cleaning, X-rays to check for underlying issues, gum examination, examination of teeth and existing dental work (such as fillings), and oral hygiene advice or instructions. Based on the exam findings, your dentist may recommend further treatment or suggest changes to your oral hygiene routine. Regular dental exams are important to maintain good oral health, prevent dental problems, and identify any issues early on for prompt treatment. We go into more detail for each of the previously mentioned items below.

Checking your medical history

Before starting the exam, the dentist or hygienist will typically review your medical history, including any medications you may be taking or health conditions you may have. The patient also has the opportunity to mention any pain or possible dental issues they are aware of. This information helps your dental team provide the best care possible and pay special attention to any issues you bring to their attention.

Assessing your oral health

The dental exam begins with a visual assessment of your oral health. This typically includes checking the health of your teeth, gums, tongue, and other soft tissues of the mouth. The dentist may use a small mirror and other dental instruments to check for cavities. During this assessment, the dentist will look for any signs of decay, gum disease, or other issues that may require treatment. While looking at your teeth, the dentist will also check for signs of oral cancer. 

Taking X-rays

In addition to the visual assessment, the dentist may take X-rays of your teeth and jaw. These X-rays can help identify issues that may not be visible during the visual assessment, such as decay, underlying infection, or damage to the jawbone. X-rays are an important tool for detecting potential issues and treating them before they become more serious.

Professional teeth cleaning

Once the dental exam is complete, the dentist or dental hygienist will typically provide a professional teeth cleaning. This cleaning helps to remove any built-up plaque and tartar that may have accumulated on your teeth, despite regular toothbrushing. The cleaning process typically includes scaling and polishing your teeth, and is an important part of the dental check-up, as it aids in the prevention of cavities and gum disease.

Oral health education

Your dentist will provide you with information and advice on how to maintain good oral health. This typically includes tips on brushing and flossing, advice on a healthy diet, and recommendations for any further treatments or procedures that may be required. If you struggle with tooth sensitivity, your dentist may recommend a more suitable toothpaste.

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