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What To Expect During Your Next Dental Exam

Oral health is arguably one of the most important aspects of overall health and wellness, and it tends to be overlooked by most people. Although most of us know that good oral health starts with regular brushing and flossing, many do not understand how critical it is to visit their dentist once every 6 months. 

A visit to the dentist does not need to be dreadful. Your dentist and hygienist will have your best interest in mind and will be there with you every step of the way during your dental exam. If you have any questions or concerns about your exam, contact your dentist so you can get the answers you need to feel more comfortable during the exam.

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What Your Dentist Looks For During Your Dental Exam

According to the Canadian Dental Association, 80% of Canadians visit the dentist at least once a year for a routine checkup but do not know what is going on or what the dentist is checking for during the exam. Hearing strange, unpleasant noises, accompanied by the feeling of someone forcing your mouth open and placing metal, foreign tools in your mouth can be an overwhelming experience. 

What is your dentists checking for? In the past, you may have thought your dentist was just checking over the hygienist's work after cleaning your teeth. However, they are actually looking for things that can affect your oral health as well as your overall health. Many of these hints cannot be seen on your own and require a dentist to detect..

Here are some of the things your dentist is looking for during your exam:

  • Early signs of cavities 
  • The health of your gums
  • Missing or decaying teeth
  • Early signs of mouth or throat cancer
  • Signs that you clench or grind your teeth
  • Suspicious growths and cysts
  • The position of your teeth

Are you due for a dental exam? To find out more about our general dentistry services or digital x-rays, contact our Calgary Dental Clinic at 403-245-9099 or book an appointment.

Whether it is a first-time visit or the first visit in a very long time, you may be wondering how your appointment will go. Here is what you can expect during a routine dental exam:

Review Past Medical History

Before your dental exam and cleaning, your dentist will ask you questions about your past medical history. You will be asked about previous dental treatments you have undergone, if you are currently on any medications, and if you have had an incident with anesthesia. All of this information will go towards the development of a treatment plan for any problems your dentist might find during your routine exam. 

During this part of the exam, be sure to mention any of the following:

  • If you are pregnant
  • If you have any allergies
  • Any changes you have noticed to your teeth
  • If you smoke or chew tobacco
  • Any noticeable changes to your gums
  • Any new medical conditions you have been diagnosed with
  • If you are nervous about your appointment
Preliminary Exam

Your dentist will do a quick exam of your oral health before your cleaning. This can include x-rays, which can detect problems in the mouth that cannot be seen with the naked eye. X-rays are not always required if you attend regular dental exams and have good oral health. Your dentist will look to see if your tongue, gums, teeth, and supporting structures are in good health and do not require any extra treatments. If your dentist detects major problems at this point, they will discuss potential treatment plans before proceeding with the cleaning.


Your dental cleaning will be performed by a dental hygienist. A typical cleaning takes 30 minutes and is performed while you are laying down in a dental chair. The hygienist will use a small mirror to help them navigate in your mouth while they scrape off any plaque and tartar buildup. After your hygienist is done scraping off all of the plaque, they will begin a polishing treatment on your teeth to return them to their pearly, original state. They will then floss your teeth and follow up with a fluoride treatment to strengthen your enamel. Once your mouth is rinsed and rid of the fluoride, your dentist will come back for your exam.

Dental Exam

Now that your teeth are squeaky clean, your dentist will look at your oral health and make sure there are not any problem areas that would require an additional visit. They will look for swelling and redness in the gums, mouth sores, and softened tooth enamel and dentin. They will also measure the spaces between the top of the gum line where the gum tissue firmly attaches to the tooth (this is called the periodontal pockets). These measurements should only be between 1-3 millimetres deep, so deeper pockets could signify early signs of gum disease. Your dentist will also investigate for signs of oral cancer. 


After your dental exam and cleaning, your hygienist and dentist will advise the next steps based on the results of the exam. They will discuss your oral health, risks of tooth decay, and the preventative measures you can take to protect your oral health. If treatments are needed, your dentist will have you come in for more frequent checkups and book a follow-up consultation appointment to discuss treatment options.

Contact Us Today To Book Your Dental Exam

Professional teeth cleaning and regular dental exams are the keystones of preventative dentistry. Many health issues can be detected early on through symptoms in the mouth. Making sure your oral health stays in good condition can avoid costly dental procedures down the road.

To find out about our holistic dental approach to cleanings, dental exams, teeth whitening, and other dental services, contact Dr. Jackie Korol Dental Clinic by calling 403-245-9099 or by filling out our online contact form.


How often should an adult visit the dentist?
The Canadian Dental Association recommends adults visit the dentist once every 6 months.

What happens if there is a problem with my oral health?
If you are experiencing oral health issues or pain, make sure to tell your doctor so they can investigate where and why it is occurring. They will go over treatment plans based on the diagnosed issue and will most likely require you to come in for more regular visits. Your dentist will be able to give you a more detailed plan and more information.

Can I eat right after a dental cleaning?
If you have received a fluoride treatment, it is recommended you do not eat or drink for 30 minutes after the appointment. Eating and drinking immediately after can remove the fluoride treatment, nullifying its benefits on your tooth enamel.



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