Visiting the dentist is an essential part of a strong oral routine. Should you have not visited the dentist for a long time, or you’re feeling anxious about visiting the dentist for the first time in a while, understanding what happens during an oral examination may help reduce your dental anxiety.
It is important to address that oral examinations can be performed differently at every practice. Although, a general understanding of how an oral examination is performed is outlined below.
The Stages Of An Oral Examination
Whilst the approach of performing oral examinations may differ from practice to practice, what constitutes an oral examination is practically the same.
- Step 1 – Welcome’s And Introduction’s – If you’re visiting a new dental practice for the first time, the dentist will welcome you to the practice and help you settle and get comfortable.
- Step 2 – Your Medical History – Once you’ve settled into the practice, the dentist will then begin to understand your current medical history and whether you’ve experienced any oral concerns recently. This is a natural step upon always visiting the dentist.
- Step 3 – Oral Cancer X-Rays – As part of every oral examination, the dentist will perform an oral cancer screening to detect signs of oral cancer. The dentist looks at the mouth to determine any red or white patches, lumps or mouth sores. If these appear, they are signs of oral cancer. Any sensitivity when eating or drinking hot and cold foods is also a sign that an oral cancer check is needed.
- Step 4 – Checking For Decay – The dentist will then look at your teeth to identify if they’re any decay issues that need addressing. The dentist will also ask you whether you’ve experienced any problems with your teeth and gums lately. If so, it is important that you voice these out so the dentist can advise on the next steps including any treatment plans.
- Step 5 – Teeth Cleaning – The dentist will then perform a professional clean of your teeth. This is formally known as prophylaxis cleaning. The dentist will remove dental plaque between and around your teeth and use a special agent to polish your teeth.
- Step 6 – Questions and Advice – The dentist will naturally ask whether you have any questions or concerns that you may want to address. The dentist will also provide you with a status of your oral health and provide advice so that you maintain a strong oral routine at home. This may typically include brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day, eating a diet comprising of vegetables, and drink water regularly throughout the day. The dentist will finally look to book you in for your next appointment.
An oral examination typically lasts about 30 minutes or less. It is a perfect time for you as a patient to ask any questions or discuss any dental goals you may have, so the dentist can help you with a long-term plan to give you the best results for the smile you’ve always wanted.
Are you seeking a check-up at your local dentist? Contact us here today and we’d be happy to help!