What Is the Difference Between Dental Examination and Cleaning?

Jan 01, 2022

Oral health has been linked to overall body health. Poor oral health can introduce bacteria into the body affecting vital organs. Besides brushing and flossing at home, visiting a dentist near you for oral examinations and teeth cleaning is essential. What is dental examination and teeth cleaning? Are they different?

Read on to find out.

Dental Exams and Cleanings

Usually, most people get both dental examinations and teeth cleaning in the same visit to the dentist. Therefore, they may not know that they are different services. Dental examination and teeth cleaning are the bedrock of preventive dentistry because they minimize or prevent oral health issues.

What Happens During a Dental Exam?

Dental examinations include various screenings that depend on your oral health situation. Nevertheless, most dental examinations include;

  • X-rays: this examination helps dentists near you detect tooth decay, tumors, bone loss, and cysts. Dentists can also have a better look at the teeth and roots’ position.
  • Oral cancer screening: a dentist will examine your gums, throat, face, tongue, lips, and neck to check for signs of oral cancer
  • Gum disease screening: a dentist will check your gums and bones surrounding your teeth to check for any gum disease signs.
  • Tooth decay examination: At the dental office in Clearwater, a dentist will check your tooth surface with specialized instruments to check if you have tooth decay during dental examinations.
  • Dental restorations examination: if you have any dental restoration like fillings or crowns, your dentist will check everything thoroughly to ensure they are in good shape. If there is any need for replacements or restoration, your dentist will provide the necessary treatment.

What Happens During Teeth Cleaning?

Professional teeth cleaning helps maintain your oral health. It is an additional oral hygiene measure that cleans your mouth thoroughly. What happens during professional teeth cleaning include;

  • Plaque removal: Plaque is a living colony of bacteria that grows if it is not removed. Plaque feeds on food debris on the teeth surface and produces toxins causing gum inflammation, leading to periodontal disease. Usually, plaque is sticky and almost invisible, making it difficult to remove without professional teeth cleaning
  • Tartar removal: tartar is hardened plaque that attaches itself to the tooth. Tartar is present below and above the gum line, and only professional dental instruments can remove it.
  • Teeth polishing: after plaque and tartar removal at a dental office in Clearwater, your dentist will polish your teeth. Your dentist will use professional dental equipment for teeth polishing to remove residual stains and plaque that regular brushing and flossing do not remove.

Benefits of Dental Exams

Dental exams during your routine checkup can show Dr. Annie Auletta signs of oral health problems like tooth decay, oral cancer, gum disease, and bad breath. Early detection of oral health problems can prevent severe problems because your dentist will provide prompt treatment.

Benefits Of Professional Teeth Cleaning

Professional teeth cleaning eliminates bacteria buildup, plaque, and tartar. Although brushing and flossing your teeth regularly maintain your oral health, plaque and tartar can still develop. Professional teeth cleaning prevents cavities, tooth loss, and gum disease, and it also improves your breath and gives you a brighter smile.

How To Maximize the Benefits of Dental Exams and Cleanings?

Maintaining proper oral hygiene at home, in addition to dental exams and cleanings, can give you excellent oral health. Oral hygiene tips that you should follow at home include;

  • Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush twice daily
  • Flossing your teeth daily with a dental floss
  • Using a fluoride-containing mouthwash
  • Maintaining a balanced and healthy diet
  • Limiting sugary food, drinks, and junks
  • Avoid smoking or use of tobacco


Contrary to popular opinion, dental exams and cleanings are not the same even though you can get both in the same visit to a dentist in Clearwater. Dental exams and cleanings are essential in identifying oral health problems before they become worse and removing plaque and tartar buildup.

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