Just what is your dentist doing in there?

Just what is your dentist doing in there?

Whether you  have been going to the dentist regularly for years or you’re getting ready to have your very first appointment, you may be interested in what your dentist and hygienist are doing during your appointment.

Every dentist is different but the basics are the generally the same!

Below, we walk your through a typical dentist appointment.


Like any other doctor, your dentist needs to know about medications and health conditions that may affect how they treat you.

Certain medications or medical conditions may mean they need to use different procedures or products when examining or cleaning your teeth.

Being aware of your overall health will also help to ensure no potential symptoms go unnoticed.

A small mouth sore for a healthy individual might just be a minor annoyance, on someone with a medical condition it may mean something else.


With few exceptions, the first thing done during your procedure is a cleaning, or prophylaxis.

A hygienist will use specialized dental tools to scrape plague off your teeth and thoroughly clean between teeth and along your gum line.

This can be painful and may cause some bleeding if you don’t brush and floss regularly.

While cleaning your teeth, your hygienist will note any sensitive areas or potential issues the dentist should look at when your cleaning is done.


After cleaning your teeth, your hygienist will likely ask you to pick a flavor for them to use for polish.

Some offices only have mint, but don’t be disappointed! Your mouth will smell and taste fresh after the hygienist polishes your teeth.

A small rubber head is used to massage the polish, made of small sugar crystals, onto tooth enamel to keep your smile clean and sparkly.

Be careful not to swallow any of the polish- your hygienist will rinse your mouth with water and suck it up with the small suction hose once they are finished polishing.


You may have a cavity and not even know it!

X-rays allow your dentist to see what’s going on under the enamel of your teeth and determine if you need further evaluation.

Catching and treating a cavity early can help alleviate the need for bigger procedures, like a root canal.

Inspecting and Further Assessment

Your dentist isn’t just checking your teeth when he asks you to open wide and takes a look in your mouth.

In addition to teeth, he is checking your gums, tongue, and overall oral health.

A comprehensive exam usually includes a visual exam by your dentist so he can check that you don’t have any cavities or anything else unusual or unhealthy going on in your mouth.

Be sure to tell your dentist about any sensitivity, pain, or new discomfort in your mouth or neck.

If you have been having headaches and this is unusual, be sure to mention it. You may be clenching your jaw without knowing it, and your teeth will show signs of this.

Following your appointment, your dentist may suggest you return to complete any procedures that require more time, like a filling.

Overall, your experience at the dentist should be a positive one.

Thinking about coming in? Contact us and make an appointment today!