The dental hygienist may start first by examining your mouth and teeth and taking x-rays to check for tooth movement, tooth decay, infections, or impacted teeth. The hygienist will perform a cleaning, which uses a special ultrasonic machine that breaks up hardened deposits of plaque and tartar. Gum disease is caused by plaque, a colorless film of bacteria that coats your teeth. If allowed to harden, the film turns into tartar (calculus).
After polishing the teeth to make it difficult for plaque to stick to them, the dentist will come into the exam room and check the x-rays and your mouth. The dentist will peer at the roof of your mouth using a tiny mirror. He or she will pull your tongue up and check for anything abnormal on its sides or underneath it. If the x-rays show signs of a cavity or abscess, your dentist will discuss this with you. Also, your dentist will give you some teeth brushing tips to help you fight tooth decay and have a healthy mouth.