A full mouth periodontal assessment is performed during all cleanings to check for possible decay, oral cancer, and other diseases of the oral cavity.
A periodontal examination and probing are used to assess the health of your gums and teeth. It can help diagnose the gum diseases gingivitis and periodontitis. It also can reveal receding gums, exposed roots, tooth grinding (bruxism) and other problems. The exam and probing include taking measurements of the spaces between your teeth and gums. If your hygienist has concerns about your gum health, you may be referred to a periodontist, a gum-disease specialist.
Most cavities are discovered in the early stages during a routine exam. The surface of the tooth may be soft when probed with a sharp instrument. Pain may not be present until the advanced stages of tooth decay. During all cleaning appointments, teeth are examined for possible decay, fractures and wear.
Routine examination of the teeth by a dentist is recommended every year, this may include dental X-rays.