Oral Hygiene and Dental Exam

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Your first dental appointment will involve a comprehensive dental exam.  At regular check-up appointments, your dentist will perform the following examinations:

Examination of diagnostic dental x-rays (radiographs):

X-rays reveal the positions of teeth and their roots. They are essential for the detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss.

Oral cancer screening:

The face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, gums and surrounding tissues are examined for any indicators of oral cancer.

Gum disease evaluation:

The gums and bone around the teeth are checked for any signs of periodontal disease.

Examination of tooth decay:

The outer, inner and biting tooth surfaces will be checked for decay using dental instruments.

Examination of existing restorations:

Your dentist will ensure that current fillings and crowns are in good condition.

Professional Oral Hygiene Cleaning

Your dentist or a Registered Dental Hygienists usually perform Professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis).  Your cleaning appointment will include a typical dental exam, as well as the following cleaning procedures:

  • Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, usually colourless film that develops on the teeth.  It harbours living bacteria, food debris, and saliva.  The bacteria produce acids that inflame the gums, destroy tooth enamel and lead to periodontal disease!
  • Removal of calculus (tartar): After just 24 hours, plaque can harden into calculus and become firmly attached to the surface of the tooth.  Calculus forms where the teeth meet the gums and in between teeth. Since calculus is too difficult to remove with a toothbrush, it can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist using special cleaning tools.
  • Teeth polishing: Stains and plaque that cannot be removed through tooth brushing and scaling alone are removed through teeth polishing.