What to Expect During a Dental Exam?

Share this article

Dental Exams Are Crucial to Your Oral Health

Dentists and other oral care experts recommend that you regularly visit your dentist for a routine dental exam, at least once every six months or twice a year. These exams play a pivotal role in ensuring that your mouth is healthy and devoid of any harmful conditions. Many oral health conditions exist without making themselves known. The only way to truly discover and diagnose them is with a dental exam. During an exam, your dentist will be able to identify any issues before they become a problem.

Over the years, going to the dentist has become stigmatized. Many people, especially small children, fear going to the dentist. They imagine loud drills and a lot of pain. Many patients suffer from dental anxiety, but patients have nothing to fear. As technology has advanced, the procedures and techniques used to clean and protect teeth have only improved. These improvements have reduced the level of pain felt during an exam. While it’s understandable that some patients may have anxiety, there’s no need for it.

To help ease dental anxiety, it may be best to learn what to expect during a dental exam. This may provide you with the necessary information to help calm your nerves. While dental exams are routine and simple, it would still benefit patients immensely to understand these exams more. Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas understands the importance of routine dental exams, and we are ready to answer any of your questions. Give us a call to schedule you and your family’s next appointments.

What is a Dental Exam?

There are several things you can do to help keep your teeth and mouth healthy. Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes and flossing once daily are two fantastic ways to keep your mouth clean and healthy. Along with these practices, everyone should regularly visit their dentist for a dental exam, preferably once every six months. However, what is a dental exam?

During an exam, a dentist or a dental hygienist will thoroughly clean your teeth. After your teeth have been cleaned, your dentist will then examine your teeth, looking for any cavities or issues. Additionally, they will also look at your gums, tongue, the sides of your cheeks, and the rest of your mouth. Some exams may even include dental x-rays.

While it is important to see a dentist whenever you have a toothache or suspect something is wrong, regularly visiting your dentist allows you to be proactive in recognizing any problems before they cause real damage. Many conditions don’t show any signs until it is too late. Dental exams are the best way to identify any abnormalities in your mouth to prevent any issues from increasing in severity.

Regardless of the benefits dental exams provide, many people still fear visiting the dentist. Much of that is because they don’t know what to expect during a visit.

What to Expect

Dental exams are quite simple. Their main purpose is to clean your teeth and identify any issues before they cause harm. However, to do that, your dentist must use various means and practices to complete a thorough assessment. During the exam, your dentist will:

  • Evaluate your overall risk of tooth decay, root decay, or gum disease
  • Evaluate your need for tooth or mouth restoration
  • Make sure your bite and jaw have no issues
  • Check for cavities
  • Remove stains
  • Teach proper oral hygiene practices

There are more things to expect before you go to your dental exam.

Cleaning Tools

When you first get to your appointment, you may notice a tray full of metal tools. While they may be intimidating, these tools are here to help you. A dental hygienist will use these tools tooth by tooth to scrape any plaque and tartar from the surface and along your gumline. If you have taken proper care of your teeth, this process will be quick and painless. They may even floss your teeth, as well. At the end, they will rinse your mouth and use a spinning head to polish your teeth.


Your dentist does not always take x-rays during each dental exam. Typically, this is only done once a year. These x-rays give your dentist a better look at your mouth, providing them with a chance to detect any abnormalities not seen during the exam. A lead vest will protect you from radiation while they take x-rays of your mouth from both sides and the front.

Similarly, a dentist may also create a dental impression to have a physical replica of your teeth. Impressions help your dentist evaluate your bite and will help them create mouthguards, among other things.

Medical History

On your initial visit, your dentist will ask many questions regarding your medical history. They will ask you what medications you are taking, your family’s medical history, what allergies you have, if you’ve had any surgeries, if you have any medical conditions you are currently being treated for, and much more. Your previous dental history will also need to be addressed. Let them know what procedures you have had, any conditions you have had, and more. This gives your dentist an idea of what kind of diseases to look for during your visit.

Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer can exist in your mouth for some time without making its presence felt. The number of oral cancer cases continues to rise. Early detection is the best way to protect patients. During these screening, your dentist will feel under the jaw, the sides of your neck, the inside of your lips and cheeks, your tongue, and even the roof and floor of your mouth.


Once your exam is finished, your dentist will explain the health of your mouth is. They will detail the health of your teeth, gums, tongue, and cheeks for you. They may suggest changes in lifestyle to help keep your teeth healthy. If any problems were detected, they may recommend further treatment.

Dental exams are an integral part of your oral hygiene. Not only do they help keep your mouth clean, but they help dentists catch harmful conditions before they progress further. If it’s been over six months since your last dental exam, contact Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas to schedule your next appointment.