A typical checkup and cleaning appointment involves a careful inspection of your mouth, teeth and gums, looking for any signs of gum disease, loose or broken teeth, damaged fillings or tooth decay.
X-rays will likely be taken. Some exams may include an examination of your head and neck, your bite and the movement of your jaw. Bacteria from untreated gum disease can actually spread infection to other parts of your body. Also, some non-dental conditions have symptoms that appear in the mouth. A dental examination can reveal signs of vitamin deficiencies, osteoporosis or more serious conditions such as diabetes or oral cancer.
Identifying and treating minor problems like cavities early on can spare you the time and expense of more complicated procedures such as extractions or root canals. So go ahead — schedule that appointment. Your teeth will also be thoroughly cleaned, polished and flossed, leaving them fresh and gleaming.