What is a dental examination, or dental checkup?

A dentist’s job is to monitor any changes to your dental and oral health. A dental examination includes looking for tooth decay, gum disease, dental erosion, cracked teeth, jaw joint (TMJ) issues and assessing the alignment of your teeth. We also examine existing tooth restorations, crowns, bridges, implants and veneers. The findings, and if required treatment, are then carefully discussed with the patient.

How do we do an examination?

Dentists inspect your teeth visually, usually by drying the teeth carefully and using special tools to check those areas that can’t be seen directly.

Why should you have an examination regularly?

Dental decay usually needs to be quite advanced for a tooth to become painful; gum disease can also be quite advanced before symptoms occur. We want to help people prevent or stop issues at an early stage rather than fix big problems at a later one.

How often should I see a dentist?

As per the Australian Dental Association (ADA) guidelines, it is recommended you visit your dentist at least every 6-12 months for a regular checkup and cleaning.  X-rays are generally taken every 2-3 years to assess and manage any non-visible conditions.

Do I need X-rays?

We recommend small digital x-rays are taken every 2-3 years. They allow examination of areas often hidden between teeth or underneath large restorations.

We also often recommend an OPG X-ray be taken; these are a more general X-ray to check for impacted teeth, infections, bone levels around teeth and to check how the teeth are developing in young patients.

X-ray radiation safety is very important to us, so every precaution is taken to minimise exposure to radiation, using modern digital X-ray sensors, and making decisions on timing of X-rays depending on each patient’s situation.

X ray tooth decay
X-ray showing tooth decay
Periapical X-ray at MSD
Periapical X-ray