There Is No "One Key" To Great Dental Health

What To Expect At A General Dental Cleaning And Examination

If you haven't been to the dentist in a while, you aren't alone. Many people have phobias about the dentist or can't afford a dental visit. If you plan on visiting the dentist soon but are nervous, keep reading to learn more about what you can expect at a general dentist appointment.


In many cases, the visit starts with a cleaning from the dentist or dental hygienist. This helps remove any debris, especially tartar, but it also makes it easier for the dentist to clearly examine the teeth later. Cleaning involves the use of a scraper to remove plaque and tartar. It's usually not painful unless you have sensitive gums.

If you haven't had your teeth cleaned in a long time, you may need a deep cleaning and root planing. This can be painful, so your dentist may recommend an anesthetic. Depending on the time restraints, your dentist may perform the deep cleaning then or reschedule it. The cleaning often ends with flossing and polishing.


During the dental exam, the dentist largely looks for signs of decay, weakening enamel, and tooth infection. They may ask about your brushing and flossing habits and provide suggestions for improved oral health, such as quitting smoking. They'll also look for signs of more complex issues like a misaligned bite, orthodontia issues, and even oral cancer.

Gum Health Exam

If your gums are tender and/or you're getting older, the dentist may also inspect your gums for signs of gum disease. The signs include tenderness, swelling, bleeding, and oozing pus.

They may also perform a pocket measurement test. This test uses a small tool to measure the pockets that form along the gumline. These pockets create a gap between the teeth and gums. Not only are large pockets a good indicator of gum disease, but they also increase the risk of decay and infection.


If you haven't been to the dentist in a while, the dentist will want to take X-rays. They will perform bitewings that show different groups of teeth (molars, premolars, canines, and incisors), but they may also do a full-mouth X-ray.

The X-rays allow the dentist to see the tooth's pulp and roots to look for complications like infection or hidden decay. They may also be used to look for problems with non-erupted teeth, future wisdom teeth, long roots that grow into the sinus, etc.

Suggested Treatments

If the dentist spots an issue, they probably can't correct it during your cleaning and exam. You'll need a different appointment. Your dentist can perform many procedures, like fillings and simple extractions, but you may need a specialist for root canal treatment, advanced gum disease treatment, and surgical extractions.

The dentist helps keep your teeth and gums healthy. Routine exams and cleanings are some of the best ways to prevent major issues. If you would like to know more, contact a general dentist today.