Comprehensive Dental Exams and Cleaning
The dental examination and cleaning are part of an important diagnostic evaluation of a patient’s overall oral health and hygiene.
During a dental examination, the doctor or hygienist may…
- check for signs of decay or periodontal disease
- ask about any medications
- take dental x-rays
- evaluate occlusion (bite)
- evaluate jaw
- discuss proper cleaning
- remove stains or debris
- take a dental impression
The doctor or hygienist may also perform an oral cancer exam. This involves feeling around the cheeks, gums, and tongue, under the jaw, and the sides of the neck for signs of oral cancer.
During the dental cleaning, also known as an oral prophylaxis, is the removal of dental plaque and tartar (calculus) from the teeth. Specialized instruments are used to gently remove these deposits without harming the teeth. First, an ultrasonic device that emits vibrations and is cooled by water is used to loosen larger pieces of tartar. Next, hand tools are used to manually remove smaller deposits and smooth the tooth surfaces. Once all the tooth surfaces have been cleaned of tartar and plaque, the teeth are polished.