What’s the Point of a Dental Checkup?

Most of us have been getting our teeth checked and cleaned every six months since childhood. If not, most of us are at least aware that we’re supposed to visit the dentist for a checkup a couple times a year. And while the point of a semi-annual dental cleaning is clear – the hygienist has to remove built-up gunk in hard-to-reach places and give the old pearly whites a nice polish – the point of a checkup might seem a little obscure. In the hopes that you’ll become a more informed patient, we’re walking you through exactly what your dentist is looking for during your dental checkup.

Keeping an Eye on Oral Health Issues

During a checkup, your dentist is checking up on all the different parts of the mouth with the goal of painting a picture of your general state of oral health and identifying which parts need to be addressed. Dentists rely on their keenly trained eye, as well as visualization techniques such as digital x-rays and intraoral cameras to help them get a comprehensive look at your mouth.

Although every dentist has his own style, most checkups are looking for:

  • Demineralization of the enamel and/or tooth decay
  • Chips, cracks, or breaks that may interrupt normal functioning of the tooth or cause damage to neighboring teeth and soft tissues
  • Patterns of enamel wear that could indicate the patient grinds their teeth
  • Alignment, spacing, or bite issues
  • Signs of gingivitis or gum disease, like bleeding gums, periodontal pockets, and bad breath
  • Any problems in the function and feeling of the jaw (an indication that the patient may suffer from TMJ disorder)
  • Abnormal cells or growths in the soft tissues (tongue, throat, roof of the mouth, gums, lips, etc.) that could indicate the presence of oral cancer
  • Cosmetic issues, such as stained teeth or uneven teeth that the patient may want to correct using cosmetic dentistry


As a native Texan, Gregory Wright, DDS, opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To learn more, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.