The Dental Exam
An examination by a dentist plays a key role in maintaining good oral health. Dentists are the doctor of the mouth. The health of the mouth is linked to the body. Your dentist is trained to identify early signs of disease in the mouth that could relate to other health issues such as diabetes. The dental exam also plays a significant role in the early detection of oral cancer.
Patient resource: The Dental Exam: More than a Checkup (PDF) - (English) (Farsi) (Punjabi) (Tagalog) (Traditional Chinese)
Regular dental exams
Tooth decay, like the root cavity shown above, often goes undetected until the disease has already progressed.
It is important to have regular examinations, even if you are not experiencing any pain. Many dental conditions will not show symptoms or cause pain in the early stages. By the time you are experiencing pain or swelling, the disease has already progressed. Through regular dental exams, your dentist can:
- Identify changes in your mouth
- Diagnose and address minor issues before they become larger problems
- Guide you on ways to prevent dental disease
- Answer any questions and concerns you may have about your dental health
- Treat any condition that may arise, or refer you to the necessary dental specialist
Catching small problems early can provide you with more treatment options and lead to better health outcomes. Learn more about what your dentist is looking for during your exam or watch a video on regular dental visits.
Frequency of exams
The frequency of your dental exams will depend on your unique dental health care needs. It is recommended that you visit the dentist at least once per year. Your dentist may recommend that you attend more frequently based on your current oral and/or general health or other lifestyle factors.
Dental disease cannot be reversed but it can be prevented. The cost of a recall exam as a preventive health measure against dental disease is far less than treatment.