Young female patient visiting dentist office. Beautiful woman with healthy straight white teeth sitting at dental chair with open mouth during routine dental checkup while doctor working at teeth.

What Your Dentist Looks For During a Routine Dental Checkup

September 7, 2023 9:00 am

Visiting the dentist for routine cleanings and exams is important for good dental health! Most people need to go only twice a year, and appointments take about 45-60 minutes. But, what does a dentist look for during a routine checkup?


Tooth decay occurs because the bacteria in plaque and tartar produce acid. This acid chews holes in your enamel, weakening your tooth structure. Dentists use X-rays and visual examination to find areas vulnerable to tooth decay, as well as cavities that can’t be seen with the naked eye.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is the #1 cause of tooth loss in adults. It doesn’t cause many symptoms in its early stages, but dentists or dental hygienists measure the spaces between your teeth and gums at a checkup. If the readings are deeper than 3mm they are called periodontal pockets. They’ll also know if your gums are inflamed and prone to bleeding. Early gum disease is often reversible with improved oral hygiene, but more severe cases can only be managed, not cured.

Oral Cancer

During a routine checkup, dentists check your gums, tongue, cheeks, and other soft tissues for oral cancer. We’re looking for signs like white or red patches, sores that don’t heal after two weeks, and other lumps or growths. We’ll also ask if you’ve had problems swallowing or chewing, ear pain, or other issues.

Problems with Dental Restorations

If you have dental restorations like crowns or fillings, we check how they’re doing at a routine checkup. Dental restorations are very strong, but they can break or wear down over time. We’ll see if they’re doing their jobs properly or if they need to be repaired or replaced.

Oral Hygiene Education

Getting your teeth cleaned and going in for a routine dental checkup is important, but the daily work you do at home, brushing and flossing, is crucial. At your appointment, your dentist and dental hygienist can offer customized oral hygiene instructions and answer any technique or product questions you have.

Visit Beaufort Center for Dentistry in Beaufort, SC for Routine Checkups!

If you have great oral health, you may be tempted to skip your routine checkups, but they’re important! They let us catch problems early before they become painful, expensive, and damaging in the long term. Please contact us today if you need to schedule your routine cleaning and exam with Dr. Costa!


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