How Long Do Dental Exams Take?

We know how busy you are and want to respect your time. By the same token, we know just how important it is that you have a dental exam in NE Calgary twice a year. To help ensure that you do get a dental exam every six months, dentists do their very best to schedule appointments and perform services as efficiently as possible.

While we’re loath to say that any person’s mouth is “typical,” we can say that a “typical” dental examination will take approximately 45 minutes. A dentist in NE Calgary will frequently ask patients to attend their appointment 10 or 15 minutes early to take care of any paperwork and administrative chores before the examination begins. All told, you should expect to invest roughly an hour in each dental exam in Saddle Ridge.

Keep in mind that the 45-minute estimate can change depending on what your dentist or hygienist finds during their examinations. If significant tooth decay, gum disease or damage to prior dental work is found during an examination, your appointment may take longer while you receive advice, get answers to any questions that you have and start developing a treatment plan about how to address those issues effectively as soon as possible.

What will happen at a typical dental examination?

A dental exam near you consists of five parts. First, your dentist and their staff will take dental x-rays of your mouth, teeth and jaw. Your dentist, dentist’s assistant or dental hygienist will then take a complete medical history to identify any issues that might be affecting their oral health. If you have an ongoing relationship with the same dentist, this stage may be relatively quick. If, on the other hand, you’re commencing a new dentist-patient relationship, your new dentist may have more questions for you to understand your prior medical and dental history.

The third stage in your dental examination will be a thorough examination of each surface in your mouth — soft tissues like your gums, cheeks and tongue and hard tissues like your teeth. The examination will extend beyond examining your teeth and gums for signs of tooth decay and gum disease to also include screening for other health conditions such as oral cancer. Even beyond that, your dentist and their staff will screen you for other conditions such as temporomandibular joint dysfunction, sleep apnea, sleep bruxism and more.

Once the examination has been completed, you and your dentist will develop a treatment plan to address any issues of concern. This stage, too, may be very quick and nothing more than a refresher on dental hygiene best practices. On the other hand, it may also involve discussing and scheduling procedures such as deep cleanings, fillings, and more. This treatment-planning stage is also your chance to ask any questions you have — or to tell your dentist — about symptoms you may be experiencing in or around your mouth.

The final stage of every examination is a professional cleaning of your teeth. This “routine” professional cleaning is not a “deep” cleaning that would need to be scheduled separately, but will leave your teeth clean, smooth and free of plaque and tartar until your next scheduled appointment.

It is easy in the busy-ness of everyday life and work to skip dental examinations, but doing so puts your oral and general health at risk while denying yourself the benefits of regular inspections, assessments and cleaning of your teeth and gums. If you’ve been inconsistent in attending your current dentist for any reason or don’t have a current relationship with a dentist to maintain your dental health, the first step to getting and staying healthy is to contact a dentist near you to arrange a check-up.