What to Expect From a Dental Exam

woman at dental exam

Going for regular dental exams helps keep your teeth and gums healthy. Routine visits to your dentist help catch issues early for faster treatment. Doing so mitigates the risk of developing potential dental or oral problems.

Some medical conditions start showing signs through your mouth. You may not notice such changes, but your dentist can whenever you go for your routine dental exams. However, most people have little knowledge of what happens during dental exams. There is so much more to it than your dentist looking at your teeth.

Overall Health Check

Your dentist will ask about your medical history if you are a first-time patient. If you have been there before, you will need to talk about any changes in your overall health. Insight about your medical condition determines how your dentist handles your situation. Your medical history is essential during your whole checkup process.

Teeth, Gum, and Jaw Examination

Dentists can check the state of your teeth by using a metal probe that has an angled mirror. They can check for signs of the cavity, such as the softening of your dentin or your enamel.

Regular dental exams also check for signs of gum problems such as sores, redness, or swelling. Your dentist will measure your periodontal pockets. Pockets deeper than three millimeters can indicate you have gum disease.

During the exam, your dentist will feel your jawbone to examine your bite alignment. You will need to bite down while this happens. Your dentist will also check to ensure your joints are not clicking. Any signs that indicate jaw clenching inform your diagnosis.

Oral Cancer Check

You cannot notice the early stages of oral cancer. Dental examinations are your chance to have an oral cancer screening. Your dentist will examine inside your lips, your jaw, tongue, neck, cheeks, and floor and roof of your mouth.

The warning signs your dentist will check are:

  • Rough spots or lumps.
  • Bleeding or unhealed sores.
  • White spots.
  • Pain, numbness, or tenderness in your oral cavity.
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing.
  • Clogged salivary glands.
  • Unexplained bleeding.
  • Lesions.

These signs occur with patients who drink alcohol, eat an unhealthy diet, or smoke. Oral cancer can endanger your health and life if not caught and dealt with early.


Dental X-rays help your dentist detect problems not visible to your naked eye. Technology has allowed such tests to spot issues, such as gum infections or jaw problems. Early detection helps mitigate certain dangers at an early stage with effective treatment.

Professional Teeth Cleaning and Polishing

Dental exams include teeth cleaning done by a dentist or a dental hygienist. Doing so helps remove plaque and deposits of tartar by scraping below and above your gumline. Your hygienist ends the thorough cleaning by using a spinning polisher.

Doing so gives your teeth a smooth and shiny polish. The polisher gets rid of food particles, tartar, and plaque after the cleaning. Having smooth teeth makes it difficult for plaque to latch onto your teeth.

For more on dental exams, visit Eagle Gate Dental at our office in Salt Lake City, Utah. You can also call 801-781-5300 today to book an appointment.