Posted .

The whole process is simple
X-Rays may be needed
More visits may be needed if a problem is found

Whether it’s a parent taking a child or a college graduate going for the first time by themselves, visiting the dentist for the first time can seem intimidating. It doesn’t have to be.Here are some of the things that patients need to know about what happens at dental checkups

What Happens During a Routine Dental CheckupsArrival

When the patient arrives, they check in and any needed paperwork will be filled out if it hasn’t been done prior to the appointment. Their insurance status will be checked as well. Usually the office will submit a claim and then the patient pays them afterward, but it varies from dentist to dentist so it’s always good to learn up front.

The Exam

The first thing that the dentist or hygienist will do is check any prior records and see when the last set of X-rays were taken. If this is the first time there and they don’t have any documentation from the previous dentist, they may just go ahead and take some to set a baseline.

Then they will talk with the patient to see if there are any conditions or allergies they should be concerned about. The patient may have dry mouth, for example, or diabetes, and the dentist may want them to get that under control before doing anything as a precaution against possible infection.

The next step is to quickly examine the teeth for any signs of cracking or decay. They will also ascertain that there are no dead teeth, which would require a root canal. Checking for oral cancer is also a priority.

If all looks good otherwise, they start cleaning the teeth, with a suction tube constantly removing saliva. Generally, no matter how diligent the patient is, there is some buildup of plaque or tartar. The hygienist or dentist will likely use an electrical scraper that removes the tartar.


Once all that has been completed and the floride polish applied, if the work was done by a hygienist , the dentist will then usually come in and do a quick double-check of the patient’s mouth.

Unless anything serious was found that requires either immediate work to be done or a very rapid follow-up for that procedure, all one has to do is maintain their level of brushing until the next appointment. 

That appointment will likely be six months later, though if the dentist or hygienist saw that the gums or teeth were not in the best condition, they may want to see the patient in another three months until they feel that the proper care is being done on a regular basis.

Dr. Barry LeJeune has helped many patients through exams over the course of his career. Both he and his staff will make it go smoothly. They are also more than glad to answer any questions about the process when they are called for an appointment at 757-827-9114.