What happens at a routine dental check-up?

dentist appointmentIf you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, you may have forgotten what happens during a routine dental appointment. And – particularly if you are feeling a bit nervous about going to the dentist – it can be helpful to know what’s in store.

So, here’s a brief rundown of what you can expect during a dental check-up here at CK Dental practice in Bristol.

Filling in a medical history form

If it’s been a long time since your last visit to the dentist, you will probably be asked to fill in a form about your medical history. This is usually a fairly simple tick-box exercise and shouldn’t take too long. If you are unsure about any of the questions, the receptionist or another member of staff will be happy to help.

Meeting the dentist

Once it is time for your appointment, either the dentist or a dental nurse will come out to the waiting room and show you the way into the clinic.

The dentist will then introduce himself and may ask you some questions about your dental health routine – how often you brush, floss etc – as well as your eating habits and other lifestyle factors that might affect your teeth, such as smoking and alcohol consumption.

All of this is intended to give the dentist an overall impression of your oral health, but if you feel uncomfortable and would like to skip this part and go straight to the examination itself, then it is important to say so and the dentist will be happy to comply with your wishes.

A visual examination

The dentist will need to look inside your mouth to get an idea of how healthy your teeth and gums are. To do this, he will need to recline your chair back and shine a light into your mouth. He will then use a small mirror to check each of your teeth and the surrounding gums. He is looking for plaque, cavities and other signs of decay, as well as checking whether you have all your teeth.

Here at CK Dental practice in Bristol, we understand that some people have a fear of the dentist’s chair. If this is you, please do say so at the outset and we will do our best to keep you as comfortable as possible during the examination – it may be possible to check your mouth using a small mirror while you sit in a normal chair, for example.

It may well be that the dentist has to use instruments to allow him to examine your mouth thoroughly. If that is the case, he will always explain to you beforehand exactly what he is going to use and why.


Once every year or so, the dentist will need to take an x-ray of your mouth. This allows him to check for any problems below the foundations of the teeth, or inside the tooth itself.

You will be asked to bite down on a small tab, while the dentist uses an x-ray machine to take a series of photographs of your mouth from several angles. The machine itself looks a bit like a telescope, and is held on a mechanical arm. The process is usually over within a matter of minutes.

If you haven’t been to the dentist for a while and are nervous about your appointment, please contact us to find out what we can do to put you at your ease in our Bristol dental clinic.