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Most dentists will perform a comprehensive dental exam and teeth cleaning during your first visit and subsequent checkups to make sure that your teeth and gums are staying healthy. These exams include taking digital x-rays to check for bone loss, decay and cysts that might need to be treated. Your dentist will also screen you for serious problems like periodontal disease and oral cancer. Any existing restorations like fillings, crowns and other types of dental restoration will also be checked to make sure they're still in great shape.
During the cleaning portion, the dental hygienist will remove any plaque and tartar that might have accumulated since your last dental visit using special scaling instruments. After that, they'll finish up by polishing your teeth with a gentle abrasive to help brighten areas that aren't normally cleaned during regular tooth brushing and flossing.