The Importance of an Annual Dental Examination by Your Calgary Dentist

You have probably heard many times from your Calgary dentist that you should have a dental check up and cleaning at least once per year.  Although our Calgary dentist, Dr. Dirk Thompson, also recommends that patients have an annual dental examination, sometimes patients express some hesitancy about getting an annual dental examination because they think their teeth feel fine and a dental examination is therefore not necessary. 

What is important for all patients to understand is that, when your Calgary dentist is doing a dental examination, he or she is looking for a myriad of issues and potential issues that only your dental professional can recognize.  Below our Calgary dentist highlights six of the most important elements of a dental examination with the hope that, with this knowledge, patients can better understand and appreciate the benefits of an annual dental examination.


Tooth Decay

Although it may seem an obvious part of an examination, it is nevertheless a very important one.  Your Calgary dentist has special training and equipment that can detect cavities at their very earliest stages.  At your dental examination, if your Calgary dentist has a concern about a particular tooth or teeth, they may take photos of the areas of concern with an intra-oral camera or may recommend that x-rays be taken.  With early detection of decay, it is relatively simply for your Calgary dentist to fix a small cavity.  Once the decay in your tooth becomes larger, more extensive steps may have to be taken to repair the damage caused by the decay, such as a large filling, a crown, or even a root canal or tooth extraction.

Our Calgary Dentist’s Message: Early detection of tooth decay saves teeth and money!


Oral Cancer

Another very important part of your dental examination with your Calgary dentist is an oral cancer screening.  Like many other types of cancer, early detection of oral cancer can save your life.  During your dental examination, our Calgary dentist will look for any signs of oral cancer including any lesions or spots on your lips, cheeks, tongue, gums or throat.  In addition to having your Calgary dentist examine your mouth for oral cancer annually, we encourage you to check you own mouth for any signs of oral cancer on a monthly basis.  If you notice any lesions in your mouth that do not go away within two weeks, you should always contact your Calgary dentist for an appointment to have the area of concern examined.

Our Calgary Dentist’s Message: Early detection of oral cancer can save your life.  Check your mouth regularly!

 dental examination


Gum Disease

In addition to checking for any signs of tooth decay at your annual dental examination, our Calgary dentist will also check to see if there are any signs of gum disease.  Early gum disease is known as gingivitis.  Fortunately, gingivitis is a completely reversable condition.  If our Calgary dentist notices any signs of early gum disease, then recommendations can be made to you to help reverse the course of the disease, including discussing a home oral hygiene regimen and a professional teeth cleaning schedule.

If it appears that your gum disease is more advanced, then our Calgary dentist can make further recommendations to treat your gums, or refer you to a periodontist, if necessary.

Just as it is important to treat tooth decay, it is also imperative to treat gum disease as it can lead to gum recession, loose teeth and even tooth loss.

Our Calgary Dentist’s Message:  Don't ignore the health of your gums.


Jaw and Facial Pain

At your dental examination, our Calgary dentist will ask you if you are suffering from jaw or facial pain.  Typically, patients who experience chronic jaw or facial pain have pain in their TMJ (temporomandibular joint), in or around their ears, in their jaw or have pain when biting.  Some patients also experience headaches. 

Although it can be difficult for your Calgary dentist to determine the exact cause of jaw or facial pain, some common causes of jaw and facial pain include the following:


  • problems with your sinuses

  • a tooth infection

  • a deep cavity

  • arthritis

  • facial or mouth trauma

  • grinding your teeth

  • gum disease

  • TMJ disorder


Because chronic jaw or facial pain can affect the quality of your life, it is important to try to address the issue.  Making an appointment with your Calgary dentist for a dental examination is the first step in finding that solution.

Our Calgary Dentist’s Message:  You shouldn’t have to live with jaw or facial pain.  Seek help from your Calgary dentist.


Other Dental Issues

In addition to checking for tooth decay, our Calgary dentist will be checking for other dental health issues, with the examination being tailored to each patient’s individual dental health needs considering their age, overall health and general dental health and include teeth crowding, orthodontic issues, bite issues, teeth grinding and clenching.

Our Calgary Dentist’s Message: Your dental examination is about so much more than cavities!


Cosmetic Concerns

During your dental examination, our Calgary dentist will also invite you to discuss any cosmetic concerns you may have with your smile.  Some of these concerns may include whitening your teeth, the shape of your teeth, the size of your teeth, the appearance of your gums, including a “gummy” smile and generally the overall appearance of your smile.

If you have any cosmetic concerns, this is an opportune time to discuss these concerns with your Calgary dentist and learn about the different options available to address them.

Our Calgary Dentist’s Message:  Feeling confident about your smile can be an important part of your overall oral health.


If you have not had a dental examination in the last year, then we invite you to call our Calgary dentist at 403.283.4252 and make a dental appointment.  Our Calgary dentist and dental hygienists have early morning, evening and weekend appointments available to make your appointment as convenient as possible.  Our Calgary dentist office is located in the beautiful community of Kensington / Hillhurst / Sunnyside in NW Calgary.  It would be our pleasure to be your lifelong partner in your oral healthcare.  Let’s make your smile last a lifetime!


This blog post written by our Calgary dentist, Dr. Dirk Thompson, D.D.S., is for informational purposes only.  It is not to be taken or used as a substitute for dental, medical or other professional advice, treatment or diagnosis.  Always ask your dentist, physician or other healthcare professional for advice before altering your diet or healthcare routine.  Individual patient needs and oral healthcare concerns vary so please consult your dentist for more information about your specific dental health requirements.


Copyright 2021: Dirk A. Thompson Professional Corporation operating as Advance Your Health Dental.  Dr. Dirk A. Thompson, D.D.S., is a general dentist in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.



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