The main difference is that with the cleaning, your teeth are just being cleaned by the hygienist. They're removing all the buildup, such as plaque. An exam is when the dentist comes in and checks each tooth, looks at your x-rays, and looks for any cavities or bone issues on the x-rays. They may also check your gums briefly, check inside your mouth, and look for any signs of infection. The dentist is the one who can diagnose you.
A full dental exam would probably take around 20 minutes. We check on the outside of your face, the inside, your muscles, your jaw, your teeth health, and your gum health.
For the average healthy patient, we recommend at least twice a year. For patients who have gum disease, we recommend three to four times a year to ensure that things don't spiral out of control.
We use x-rays and compare that to what we see physically in the mouth.
If we have time, we can sometimes do same-day treatment, like filling cavities. But for the most part, we like to do a full exam, check everything, and come up with a plan for you.
We look for a very large cavity that we can see in your mouth, swelling or some infection near where the tooth is in your gum, and also look at your x-ray to see any infection in the bone or large cavity that's causing this need for a root canal.
For the most part, no. Some patients do have tenderness when we check their gums, but it's nothing invasive.
The most important thing that helps us is making sure that if you do take medications, please come with your full medication list. Some things that you may be taking or some medical conditions you have can impact us being able to do dental work on you. So, we want to make sure you're safe.
All you have to do is call us at 301-604-0025.