How Are Dental Exams and Dental Cleanings Different?

Jan 01, 2021

Do you visit your dentist every six months for dental exams and cleanings? You may schedule your appointment with your dentist and have the entire procedure completed in one visit. However, are you aware both are entirely different and serve different purposes? If not, you must learn what precisely are dental exams and cleanings and why they are different.

It is familiar for people to visit a dentist for exams and cleanings without realizing they are receiving two different services simultaneously. Your dentist may not comprehensively explain both procedures to you but will nevertheless perform the exams first and the cleanings after that. Learning why or how these procedures are accomplished will help you realize the benefits better. The information will also make you more comfortable visiting your dentist, knowing full well that your entire oral and overall health is being cared for by the dental professional. Let us explain both procedures to you comprehensively in this article.

What Is Involved in the Dental Examination Procedure?

Your unique situation will determine what you can expect during a dental exam. However, the following exams are standard for everyone.

  • X-rays are routine during dental exams. They help the dentist in Auburn, AL, to detect decay, bone loss, cysts, and tumors. X-rays are also helpful to let the dentist look better and the positions of your tooth and roots.
  • Examining restorations in your mouth like crowns or fillings or any other therapeutic work to ensure everything is in optimal condition. The dentist notes whether any replacements or repairs are needed and discusses the same with you after the exam.
  • Screening for oral cancer is another examination performed by the dentist. The dentist looks at your throat, face, gums, tongue, lips, and tissues for signs of oral cancer.
  • Examining your teeth for tooth decay is another examination the dentist performs. They will check every tooth surface with specialized dental instruments to determine whether any decay is present on your teeth.
  • Screening for periodontal disease is also involved with dental exams. The dentist looks at your gums and bones surrounding your teeth, observing for signs of gum disease.

If you are in any discomfort during your visit or have a history of a specific oral health issue, additional steps are included in your exam.

What Is Involved in the Dental Cleaning Procedure?

A registered dental hygienist performs dental cleanings at Central Park dental care. If you have a history of unique problems or oral health issues, when you arrive for the appointment, you will receive treatments for the same. However, the dental cleaning procedure includes the following:

  • Eliminating Plaque. Many people aren’t aware plaque is, in reality, a living colony of bacteria. When left to remain in the mouth, it continues to multiply by feeding on food particles on the surface of your teeth. As it feeds, the bacteria produce toxins to inflame your gums resulting in periodontal disease. Plaque is invisible but sticky, and it is difficult to remove it without professional dental cleaning entirely.
  • Eliminating Tartar. Plaque hardens into Tartar and his present both above and below the gum line. Tartar can only be removed by professional dental cleaning and is not removable by brushing and flossing.
  • Polishing your teeth follows plaque and tartar removal. When polishing your teeth, the hygienist uses an electric toothbrush along with gritty toothpaste to get rid of plaque and stains that weren’t removed during your dental cleaning routine.
  • Finally, you are provided fluoride treatments to battle against cavities for several months at the end of the cleaning routine.


We are confident you now understand that cleaning and exams are both distinct procedures. Exams are to diagnose any issues in your mouth, and cleanings are to remove bacterial deposits on your teeth and provide preventive measures to ensure you don’t fall prey to cavities.

Everyone is recommended for dental exams and cleanings every six months. These procedures aim to examine your entire oral health and clean your mouth to make sure you are not vulnerable to any issues that can affect you. Both approaches are painless and will not cause any anxiety or discomfort. Therefore you must ensure you visit your dentist regularly for exams and cleanings without exceptions.

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