What Exactly Is a Dental Check-Up?

A dental check-up is a dental visit where a dentist examines your teeth to determine why you are experiencing some symptoms. It can also be a dental visit to monitor whether you are healing well from a dental procedure. Here's what you need to know:

Dental Pain, Swelling or Bleeding

Your friends or family might advise you to visit a dental clinic for a check-up when showing signs of dental pain or gum swelling and bleeding.

What can you expect from the dentist? 

Your dentist will start by asking you about your symptoms and when they started. This is the time to give your dentist full details of your condition without leaving out anything, regardless of how minor you think a detail is.

The dentist will then examine your teeth and gums visually — a dental X-ray might be required. This will help the dentist diagnose your condition better.

The most common diagnosis

More often than not, the dentist will diagnose you with tooth decay. This is a dental problem that affects the majority of people. It results from poor dental hygiene or having an underlying condition that makes your teeth weak.

Tooth decay occurs when bacteria eat away at your teeth, creating holes. This does not happen overnight, which is why you are advised to brush your teeth regularly to prevent or minimise tooth damage. When a hole approaches your pulp cavity (a chamber in your tooth that houses nerves and blood vessels), you might start feeling pain, and that is when you start considering a dental check-up.

Note that you should not wait for a hole to get deep. Always brush your teeth regularly and inspect them for holes. The earlier you catch a hole, the easier and cheaper it is to treat.

Monitoring After a Dental Procedure

You may also visit a dentist for a dental check-up after a major dental procedure; for example, a dental implant procedure that involves surgery.

What can you expect from the dentist? 

The dentist will ask you whether you are in any pain or discomfort and then examine you visually. The feedback may be that you are healing well or need to change some habits to facilitate healing or avoid infection.

If the dentist discovers that you have an infection, you might need some medication to stop or control the infection. However, if you follow your dentist's instructions, the feedback is usually positive.