If you are going to a new dentist for the first time, you can expect to undergo a thorough new patient examination. While many people are fearful of going to the dentist, a dental exam is a pain-free experience that will allow you and your dentist to work together to determine the best course of treatment for your oral health.
What to expect from a new patient exam
Discussion with the dentist
Your dentist will likely ask you about your health history. This may include questions such as whether you suffer from any conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, or high blood pressure. If you have lost teeth in the past, let your dentist know what caused the loss, along with whether you experience any ongoing dental issues or have sought treatment in the past. This information will help your dentist determine which symptoms or issues to watch out for.
Professional teeth cleaning
A dental exam is often performed during the same appointment as a professional teeth cleaning, which is usually performed by a dental hygienist. A professional cleaning involves removal of plaque or tartar by scraping and polishing the teeth.
The dentist will conduct a physical examination of your mouth, tongue, neck, and maxillofacial muscles. They will check for gum problems, sores in the mouth, and any symptoms of oral cancer. The procedure also typically includes a physical check of any crowns or bridges.
The dentist will likely take x-rays in order to fully evaluate the health and condition of your teeth. This will allow them to examine the condition of the tooth roots, sockets, and the jawbone.
Following your exam, the dentist will discuss the findings with you and provide recommendations for any issues or areas that need treatment.