7041 US-70S #7
Nashville, TN 37221

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What Happens at a Dental Exam?

What Happens at a Dental ExamAn attractive smile is important to your self-confidence and can affect your personal and professional life. Regular dental care lets you keep your teeth and gums healthy and brighten your smile. At Poff Dental Associates in Nashville, TN, we think dental care is essential to your overall health and development.

What is a Dental Exam?

A dental exam is a medical checkup on your teeth and gums. Dental exams help find tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems early and when they’re easier to treat. Oral health refers to the well-being of the mouth, teeth, and gums, which allow us to chew, speak and smile. Oral health is essential for physical and emotional well-being because it affects our appearance, social life, diet, and speech. Both children and adults should visit a dentist every six months for a dental examination and cleaning.

What Occurs During a Dental Exam Appointment?

The exam begins with a review of the patient’s entire dental and medical history, where the patient may be required to complete a questionnaire. The examination and cleaning can begin once the dental hygienist is familiar with the condition of your mouth.

What are the Services Offered in a Dental Exam?

A comprehensive exam allows dentists to analyze the health of your mouth. Here are some of the preventive care services included in a dental exam:

  • Cleaning and polishing teeth: A dental hygienist cleans the mouth to remove any plaque and tartar deposits by scraping above and below the gum line and flossing your teeth. The hygienist uses a spinning polisher with a moderately abrasive tip to produce shining teeth and a smooth finish and remove plaque, tartar, and food particles that might have been previously missed. Smoothing your teeth makes it more difficult for plaque to attach to them between dental treatments.
  • Checking for oral cancer: The dentist tests for mouth or throat cancer symptoms. Lesions, sores, ulcers, abnormal bleeding, and blocked salivary glands are all potential signs of oral cancer.
  • Examining gums, jaw, and teeth: Dentists check for cavities using a metal probe equipped with an angled mirror to look in the spaces between and behind your teeth where cavities manifest as soft enamel and dentin. Regular dental exams help in detecting signs of gum disease. The dentist will check for abnormally deep pockets to diagnose periodontal pockets and signs of gum disease. The dentist will test your bite by feeling your jawbones while you chew to ensure proper alignment and the absence of any clicking sounds from the jaw joints.
  • Digital X-rays: When dentists take X-rays, they can see what’s happening below the gums and teeth. Digital X-rays are necessary for diagnosing jaw and tooth root issues and gum infections like gingivitis. Early diagnosis is key for the successful treatment of these conditions.

How Long Will a Dental Exam Take?

A routine dental checkup and cleaning take about 45 and 60 minutes, but children take less time. The appointment may vary depending on the patient’s age, dental health, and the frequency of checkups. For new patient exams, we schedule 2 hours to get to know the new patient and gather more data to help determine a baseline health 

What You May Need To Know Before The Appointment

You may need to take antibiotics before the exam if you have a history of infection, heart disease, immunity challenges, or have recently undergone surgery. Consult your dentist on the need for antibiotics. Going to the dentist can cause anxiety in some people. Seek your dentist’s guidance if you have such concerns. They will assist you in being confident and taking the test with ease.

Why Is Poff Dental Associates a Good Choice for Your Next Dental Exam?

Consider Poff Dental Associates for your next dental appointment. Our various dental services, like oral cancer screening, teeth cleaning, and routine dental exam, are the best way to ensure a healthy smile. Our highly trained staff prioritizes your comfort regarding your oral health. Our cutting-edge technology enables us to provide our patients with the highest quality care at a highly reasonable cost. Get in touch with us today to book your next appointment.

Dr. Justin Poff, DDS

Arkansas native Dr. Justin Poff, DDS, is a University of Tennessee dental graduate committed to providing outstanding services in general, cosmetic, orthodontic, and implant dentistry. He now practices in Nashville, where he relocated with his wife after graduation, and continues to pursue excellence in dental care. When not in the dental office, Dr. Poff indulges in outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and skiing and contributes his time to the local community through his involvement with Young Life in Williamson County.

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