To keep your teeth and gums healthy, routine dental care check-ups are essential. Of course, outside of the dentist office you should be brushing your teeth and using antiseptic mouthwash twice a day, as well as flossing and cleaning your tongue daily to minimize plaque and promote fresh breath.

STANDARD DENTAL CHECKUP PROCEDURES

A dental checkup includes five parts. The duration and intensity of these steps vary depending on the individual and the state of their oral health.

STEP 1: VISUAL EXAM

Your dentist first checks the lymph nodes of your head, jaw, and neck for flexibility, tenderness, and pain. Then your mouth, lips, gums, tongue, and mucous membranes are inspected for sores, growths, and decay.

STEP 2: DIGITAL DIAGNOSTICS

If your dentist decides that either digital x-rays or 3D imaging are necessary, they will take place at this point. Digital x-rays provide instant results and can show problems that aren’t obvious during the visual exam. 3D imaging is used to determine the exact shape and position of teeth.

STEP 3: GINGIVAL POCKET EXAM

Healthy gums are equally as important as healthy teeth. This exam is used to establish the existence or risk of gum disease in a patient. Your dentist will use a special hand-held instrument that measures the depth of the pockets between your teeth and gums – the deeper the pocket, the greater risk you have for infection and tooth damage that leads to gum disease.

Practicing dental care is essential for oral hygiene. You should make an appointment to see a dentist at least twice a year to ensure your oral health is in the best shape it can be.