Cleanings and Exams

Dental Exam

A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by your dentist at your initial dental visit.  At regular, 6 month check-up exams, your dentist and hygienist will perform the following:

  • Examination of diagnostic X-rays (radiographs):  This is essential for the early detection of decay, tumors, cysts, bone loss, and abnormal tooth/root positions.
  • Oral cancer screening:  The face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums are examined for signs of oral cancer.
  • Gum disease evaluation:  The gums and bone around the teeth are checked for signs of periodontal disease.
  • Examination to detect tooth decay:  All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay.
  • Examination of existing restorations:   Existing fillings, crowns, bridges, and implants are examined for new decay.

 Professional Dental Cleaning

Professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis) are usually performed by Registered Dental Hygienists.  Your cleaning appointment will include a dental exam and the following:

  • Removal of plaque:  Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth.  It consists of bacteria, food debris, and saliva.  The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums.  This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease.
  • Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface.  Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
  • Teeth polishing:  Removal of stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.


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