The Dental Exam

Click on the questions below for the answer.

How often do I need a dental exam?

The frequency of your dental exam will depend on your unique dental health care needs. Many patients visit the dentist every six months. At a minimum you should visit the dentist at least once per year. How well you care for your teeth, whether you have any issues that need monitoring and the status of your general health can all influence the required frequency of your exams. The goal is to catch any trouble signs early.

Talk to your dentist about your oral health care needs and the frequency of your dental exam.

What is covered during the exam?

The BCDA has produced a patient fact sheet to help you understand some of the things your dentist may look for during your exam. What is included in a dental exam or at each visit is not the same for everyone. Factors such as age, dental health status, level of general health, medication use and lifestyle choices may influence what is covered. Ask your dentist if you have any questions about your exam or what your dentist is looking for during your exam.

Why doesn't my dentist take x-rays each time I visit?

The frequency of X-rays is determined on a case-by-case basis. Your dentist will work with you to review your oral health and assess the potential benefit of obtaining an X-ray to support your care. Discuss any concerns with your dentist.

Why do I need an exam if I don't have any dental issues?

The early stages of dental disease do not have any symptoms. Dental disease is not reversible so prevention and early detection is extremely important. Your dentist is trained to catch early signs of conditions affecting your mouth to stop the progression of disease and prevent small problems from becoming larger ones.

Why do I need an exam if I wear a denture?

Oral health is concerned with the entire mouth. During your dental examination, your dentist will inspect a number of important areas and functions of your mouth to identify and diagnose any problems. Your dentist will also check the condition and fit of any dental prosthesis (i.e. denture).

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 cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The dental exam also plays a significant role in the early detection of oral cancer.

What if my insurance plan only covers a dental exam every nine months but my dentist recommends more frequent exams than this?

Your dental insurance coverage is based on the plan purchased by your employer for all employees which may or may not cover your unique oral health care needs. Your dentist may recommend that you have more or less frequent exams based on your unique dental health care needs and your general health status.

Ask your dentist if you have any questions. It is your responsibility to know what is covered in the plan as your dentist will not have this information. Speak with your dentist about your plan and your dental health needs so that you can understand your options and can make the best decisions for your own health.