Why are dental exams and cleanings essential?

Dental exams and cleanings are essential because they help catch any oral issues before they can develop into more serious, painful problems. Routine exams and cleanings do not necessarily have to be combined. The goal is to catch issues early when they are cheaper and easier to fix. Once a tooth reaches the point of causing pain, it often requires a root canal or an extraction, or at least indicates a deep cavity.

What's included in a dental exam?

A dental exam can be of a few types—routine, problem-focused, and comprehensive. A routine exam is a regular check-up that includes TMJ screening, airway screening, checking gum health for gum disease or periodontal disease, checking teeth for cavities, and oral cancer screening. A problem-focused exam is done on an emergency basis to address specific issues bothering the patient. A comprehensive exam is recommended for new patients and includes a full-mouth series of x-rays, gum measurements, oral cancer screening, jaw joint measurements, and airway screening.

How long do these exams take?

A problem-focused or routine exam typically takes about five to ten minutes. A comprehensive exam for new patients, which includes a wider range of checks and screenings, usually takes about half an hour.

Are dental exams painful?

No, dental exams should not be painful. They involve x-rays and visual examination. In case of a toothache, some testing might be needed. If a patient is concerned about the pain during a cleaning, it can be separated from the exam. For nervous patients, it's recommended to first have an exam, get familiar with the team and the office, and then schedule a cleaning session separately.

To schedule any type of dental exam, cleaning, checkup, x-rays, or other services, you can contact Dulac Dental of Springfield at (703) 451-4500.