What Does a General Dentist Do During a Check Up Exam?

A general dentist focuses on understanding and treating a broad range of oral health issues. When most people think about going to the dentist, it is a general practice dentist that they have in mind. The American Dental Association recommends semi-annual check-up examinations for all ages. For what to expect from these appointments and how to prepare for them, continue reading.

The semi-annual check-up

Most dentists recommend two check-ups a year for appropriate preventive care. Visiting the dentist every six months can help prevent cavities, gum disease and other serious oral health problems.

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What to expect

At these regularly scheduled visits, patients will likely see a dental assistant first. The assistant will prep the patient for the dentist or the dental hygienist. The patient will be asked to sit in a reclining dental chair, and a protective disposable bib will likely be placed around their neck. The assistant may floss the patient’s teeth and take X-rays.

At this point the dentist or a dental hygienist typically comes to thoroughly clean the patient’s teeth. With a special tool, they will scrape the hardened plaque deposits known as tartar off the teeth. A regular toothbrush cannot remove this buildup at home, which is one reason why regular dental visits are so crucial. Then teeth will often be polished and rinsed. This process removes stains and any remaining plaque buildup. A fluoride treatment may also be offered to help strengthen the enamel.

If the dentist has not seen the patient up until this point, they will usually come now to go over the X-rays with the patient and check on any spots of concern. If there are cavities or other issues that need to be addressed, a return appointment will often be scheduled.

How to prepare for a check-up

The smart way to prepare for a regular check-up with a general dentist is to follow the daily oral healthcare routine recommended by the ADA. This includes flossing and brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste at least twice a day. Flossing and brushing after every meal is the recommended way to avoid dental caries and gum disease. Toothbrushes should be kept clean and replaced often.

It is also wise to avoid too many sugary drinks like soda and juice, as well as sugary treats and candies. Patients with weak enamel may also need to avoid acidic foods like citrus fruit, tomatoes and tomato-based sauces, and drinks like coffee and tea. Acid erodes enamel and can contribute to the formation of dental caries.


With the help of a general dentist, patients can ensure that they are doing all they can to keep their teeth and gums healthy. Regular check-ups, along with proper oral care at home, work together to prevent tooth decay and gingivitis. While genetics and other factors contribute to oral health conditions, there is a lot that you can do to prevent problems with your teeth and gums.

Request an appointment here: https://bytedentist.com or call Byte Dentistry at (603) 952-2252 for an appointment in our Windham office.

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