The dental examination
You should have regular dental examinations, even if you practise good dental hygiene.
The purpose of these check-ups is to:
- prevent any dental problems
- diagnose the condition of your mouth
- propose an appropriate treatment plan, if necessary
In addition, some conditions or habits can affect your oral health: smoking, drinking, certain illnesses and some medications.
During the examination, your dentist evaluates your:
- soft tissues beneath the tongue
- inside of the cheeks
The frequency of examinations depends on each patient’s needs and a variety of factors, including:
- your oral health
- your oral care practices, in particular how regularly you brush and floss
- your general state of health and lifestyle
Your dentist will look for any indication of gum infection or caries (cavities), worn fillings or any other unusual signs. Any dental prostheses will also be examined.
He or she will also have you complete a medical questionnaire on your state of health and habits, with questions concerning:
- general health
- previous hospitalizations
- medications taken and any allergies to medication
- risk factors, including tobacco use and alcohol consumption
- dental history
Your dentist may have to take x-rays to prepare a diagnosis. There is no risk involved, since you are exposed only to very small amounts of radiation, at specific points. You are also protected with a lead apron.
Tell your dentist about
- teeth that have become discoloured or have shifted
- unusual sensitivity of teeth or gums to heat, cold or sweet drinks or food
- discoloration, sensitivity or bleeding gums when brushing teeth or flossing
- discoloration of the surface of the inside of your mouth
- a sore on your lip or in your mouth, like an ulcer, that lasts longer than two weeks
- clenching or grinding your teeth, or tension in your neck or jaw
- the appearance of bumps on your neck
You must also inform your dentist of any change since your previous visit (new medication you are taking, serious illness, pregnancy, etc.).
frequent oral problems
- Deterioration of fillings, crowns and other restorations
- Caries in the root because the gum has receded
- Periodontal pockets (deepening of the space between the gum and tooth) caused by gum disease
- New caries beneath the gum
- Caries beneath existing fillings
- Cracked or fractured teeth
- Impacted wisdom teeth
- Initial signs of gum disease
- Initial signs of oral cancer
- Signs and symptoms of other problems with repercussions on general health
The Order recommends a visit every six months. Your dentist may change the recommended frequency of visits, if applicable, following the examination.