A complete guide to dental examination and dental hygiene

by | Mar 16, 2023

Did you know that a third of the UK population is suffering from untreated tooth decay?

Going to the dentist may not be your favourite thing, but as you must have heard countless times, it is necessary. Leaving problems untreated have nasty and often painful consequences. The bi-annual dental check-up may sound unnecessary, but it helps avoid expensive root canals and pesky gingivitis. Routine dental attendance is associated with better oral health, and research backs it.

When it comes to dental health, anyone who has ever had to endure drilling will agree prevention is the best out of all remedies.

So, let’s first get down to what a dental exam is.

Dental Examination

What happens during a dental exam?

Don’t worry, it isn’t painful. Your dentist will examine your teeth, gums, and mouth for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, gum recession, infection, and anomalies. A dental exam can also include dental x-rays. If you have implants, crowns, bridges, and root canals, these x-rays provide visual information about their condition.

They will ask about your general health and any problems you’ve had with oral health since the last visit. They will also ask about your diet, smoking, alcohol use, and teeth-cleaning habits. Your dentist will advise you on how to improve your oral health. You will get a date for your next visit.

What are the areas a dentist checks during a routine exam?

Your face, neck, jaw joints, lymph nodes, bite, tongue, and cheeks get examined apart from teeth and gums.

Are oral cancer screenings included in dental examinations?

Absolutely! A routine dental exam also involves oral cancer screening. Your dentist will check the cheek linings, gums, lips, tongue, floor & roof of your mouth, and throat for lesions and abnormalities. They will refer you to an oncologist for further testing if anything suspicious is detected.

How often do you need to go in for a dental examination?

Majority of dental  professionals recommend visiting your dentist for a routine exam every 6 months. However, some may not need to go so often, while others may need to go every 3 months depending on their dental health problems. The frequency may vary from 3 months to 2 years. On average, 6 months is a safe interval to ensure you are detecting oral health issues early.

Dental Hygiene

Dental hygiene is the lynchpin of good oral health and is very much a part of preventive measures just as much as dental exams are.

What does dental hygiene mean?

Did you know that according to a 2009 national survey of adults, more women in the UK reported cleaning their teeth at least twice a day than men (82% compared with 67%)?

Dental hygiene involves practices that keep your teeth and gums clean. These include brushing teeth twice a day, flossing, using mouth rinses, and seeing a dental hygienist for routine cleaning. A good hygiene routine removes plaque, bacteria, and food particles consistently, eliminating the risk of cavities, periodontal disease, teeth discolouration, and bad breath.

Dental hygiene is integral to our general well-being. An oral infection can carry bacteria to other parts of the body through the bloodstream leading to health conditions like heart disease and stroke. If you suffer from diseases like diabetes, osteoporosis, HIV/AIDS, and Alzheimer’s disease, dental hygiene is extra vital as these conditions negatively impact oral health.

What modern dental hygiene treatments are available?

From interdental brushes to antibacterial mouthwash, dental hygiene solutions are readily available. However, nothing beats professional hygienist treatment. Scaling and polishing is an excellent way to keep your teeth and gums healthy. And, if you want your dental appliances and crowns cleaned safely as well, Airflow offers improved professional teeth cleaning.

What can you expect from a dental hygiene treatment?

Your hygienist will conduct a routine dental exam before the treatment. A scale and polish treatment involves scaling and root planing to remove plaque and calculus from teeth and root surfaces. The hygienist uses an ultra-sonic scaler and a water jet. They will also use hand instruments where necessary. After removing plaque from teeth, the hygienist will polish them using a special paste.

Airflow can clean up to a depth of 5mm. It doesn’t involve scaling, which is safer for dental appliances. Airflow can clean up to a depth of 5mm. It doesn’t involve scaling, which is safer for dental appliances. Compressed air, a streamlined jet of water, and fine bi-carb powder are combined to clean teeth, periodontal pockets, and below the gum line. Airflow can clean dental implants, bridges, veneers, and crowns without the risk of damaging them.

Once your teeth are fresh and bright from the cleaning, your hygienist will give you a date you will need to repeat the process to keep teeth and gums in mint condition. Based on dental issues they notice, they will recommend special toothpaste, mouthwash, and hygiene habits.

What you should consider selecting a dental hygienist

Qualification and experience ensure you are in safe and capable hands. A friendly demeanour and caring personality allows you to openly discuss your dental care with them and stay in control every step of the way. A good hygienist listens and takes notes. They should be concerned about any discomfort you are in and avoid actions that are painful to you. Some patients may need anaesthetic and they should be accommodating. Nervous patients need extra patient comfort and a good hygienist knows how to put them at ease in a calming manner.


Dental exams and hygiene are invaluable to good health. They protect our precious teeth and gums and, at the same time, save lives with early detection of oral cancer. Ask your dentist how often you need a dental exam and a hygienist treatment. These can prevent expensive and complex treatments in the future and prolong your teeth for a higher quality of life. Our teeth play a major role in everything from our nutrition to self-esteem. So, what’s stopping you from making that trip to your dentist? Those with dental anxiety can feel at ease at Mouth clinics. Our caring clinicians will put you at ease without pain or stress.