Dental exams are an important part of preventative dentistry. Prevention has become a major health initiative in recent years because it’s very cost-effective. Regular dental exams can prevent dental problems. It can also catch problems before they become serious. This can save your smile and improve your overall health.

What Happens at a Routine Dental Exam?a dentist performs a routine dental exam

There are several things that happen at a routine dental exam. These are investigative and preventative measures to check for dental problems and reduce the likelihood of future dental health issues.

A dental exam includes:

  • Medical history
  • Visual dental examination
  • Cleaning
  • X-Rays
  • Discussion

Medical History

A dental exam will begin with a medical history. The dentist will ask you questions about your current and previous oral health. These may include questions about past dental problems and how often you brush and floss.

Visual Dental Examination

The dentist will do a visual inspection of your mouth, including teeth, tongue, and gums. A small mirror is often used to get a clear look at all areas of the mouth. They will look for cavities, plaque, and tartar buildup, signs of gum disease, broken and misaligned teeth. They will also perform an oral cancer screening as part of the dental examination. This usually involves a visual check for precancerous lesions.

Teeth Cleaning

Teeth cleaning is what comes to mind when most people think of a routine dental exam. This is performed by a dental hygienist. First, they will use a scraping tool to remove tartar buildup. If you brush and floss often, less tartar will build up on your teeth. If you don’t brush regularly or haven’t had a dental exam in a while, this process will take longer to complete.

Next, they will polish your teeth. This is performed with a powered brush and a gritty paste similar to the toothpaste you use at home. This removes any tartar left behind and gives your teeth a deep clean.

Next, they will floss. This is the same basic process you perform at home, but dental hygienists are trained to remove particles from areas that are hard to reach when brushing

Last, a fluoride treatment will be applied to your teeth. This can be a liquid that is painted onto your teeth or a foam that is applied with a tray.


X-rays are often part of a dental exam as well. These are known as therapeutic X-rays. They allow the dentist to look beyond the surface into the inner structures of your teeth and jawbone. This can reveal potential problems that would be missed with a visual exam. We offer X-rays as part of the following services:


Once everything is complete, your dentist will speak with you about the results of your dental exam. If any problems were noticed, potential treatment or diagnostic testing will be discussed. They will also explain what you can do to maintain your oral health at home in-between visits. They will ask if you have any questions about the treatment or taking care of your teeth.

How Often Do You Need a Routine Dental Exam?

You’ve likely heard that you should come in for a dental examination twice a year or every six months. Some people need to visit the dentist more often than twice a year. These people fall into high-risk categories where frequent visits are essential for the best oral health.

People who may need to visit the dentist include:

  • Pregnant women
  • Smokers
  • Diabetics
  • Those with gum disease
  • Those who have an immune system disorder or are immunocompromised

Dental Exams at Splendid Dental Bellaire

Splendid Dental Bellaire in Houston offers the preventive dental services you need to keep your smile healthy. We provide adult and pediatric dentistry, with specialties to meet all your dental care needs. Parking is easy at our convenient location. If it’s time for your next dental exam, contact us today at 713-244-7797 to make an appointment.