What Your Dentist Checks for During a Check-Up

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Going to the dentist every six months is crucial for maintaining proper oral and overall health. However, for patients who are new to the dentist, haven’t had a check-up in a while or have any anxiety about visiting, it is comforting to know exactly what your dentist will be doing. To help you prepare for your next appointment, here are some of the basics your dentist will check.


Through the use of x-rays and visual examination, your dentist will check to make sure you have an appropriate level of tooth enamel to protect against decay. Your dentist will look for cracks or chips that could leave you susceptible to infection. The x-rays will specifically tell your dentist whether or not you have any cavities that need to be resolved.


Your gums say a lot about your oral health. Using a periodontal ruler, your dentist will measure the amount of space between your gums and your teeth. After comparing your current measurements to past numbers, this will indicate whether you’ve had bone loss. Swollen or bright red gums can reveal that gum disease may be present.


If your dentist places their fingers near your ears and asks you to bite down, they are checking your jaw alignment. A misaligned jaw or any tenderness in the surrounding area may be a sign of temporomandibular joint disorders. An examination of your bite will help determine if orthodontic or other treatment is needed.


Just as your dentist is checking on the status of your teeth, they are checking on the state of dental work you’ve already had. If old fillings or crowns break, bacteria can find its way in and cause infection. By making sure everything is holding up, your dentist can see if anything needs to be replaced or if further dental repair is necessary.


Your dentist can tell if you have more than just cavities. For example, sensitive roots of your upper teeth can be a tell-tale sign of a sinus infection. While not true for every patient, gum disease can sometimes be a symptom of diabetes. Another very important medical issue that your dentist can check is for signs of oral cancer. Your dentist will look for any abnormalities in the mucus membrane lining of your mouth, as well as any swelling or ulcers. Based on your dental exam, your dentist can discuss any treatments that you may need.


When you think about all of the important things that your dentist does during your check-up, it’s clear why it is important to visit every six months. Need a great dentist in the Salt Lake area? Give us at Allan S. Thomas Cosmetic & General Dentistry a call today!