What to expect


The first exam appointment is usually made via a phone call from the patient. Although these days, contact can often be made by e-mail, too. Any initial queries that you have regarding health funds or costs can be answered by our reception. We recommend if you have previously seen a dentist within the last 12 months to bring your records and x-rays with you (if possible) or we can organise a record release form for you on booking your initial appointment.

Upon Arrival

Completing Medical History

Arriving 10-15 minutes before the actual appointment time is good as your dentist will probably want you to look through a medical history questionnaire, and fill out any details. It’s quite important then to have to hand the details of any medications that you are currently taking and any major illnesses or operations that you have had in the past. This may feel insignificant to you, but it may have an important bearing on any medication that your dentist might want to prescribe for you. Alternatively you can fill out this form prior to your arrival by clicking here













Meeting your dentist

Your dentist or nurse will collect you from the waiting room and escort you to the surgery. We will talk to you face to face and explain what they will do during the appointment. You will also have an opportunity to discuss your concerns before they start.

Visual check

Your dentist may also ask you to wear glasses when they lie you back in the dental chair. These are to protect your eyes in case there is any water splashing about. It is not a fashion faux-pas to wear these glasses – your dentist will not tell your friends that you have been wearing them!
Your dentist will do a visual check using a small mirror, and will also visually check your gums as well as your teeth. This is to check for any gum disease and any other potential problems that you should know about which are important for your health.

Dental charting

During a check-up appointment, your dentist will count around your teeth and make a note of any fillings that are present, any teeth that are missing and any wee holes in your teeth or areas that they want to keep an eye on. Your dentist will start at one side of your mouth, say top right, at the back, and count around until they reach top left at the back. Then they will move to lower left at the back and count around until they reach lower right, at the back. This means that they don’t miss any teeth.

The Explorer

Why does the dentist want to poke at my teeth? The dental ‘probe’ or ‘explorer’ can be used by your dentist to gently feel the bumps and valleys on the surface of the tooth. If your dentist notices any ‘tackiness’ on the surface of the tooth, it might be a soft area which would indicate decay is present.

Unfortunately these areas of early decay may not show up on an x-ray.

Intra-oral camera

Your dentist may also have a small handheld camera with which they can take close-up pictures of your teeth and then display them on a screen. These pictures can be used to explain things more thoroughly so you can see what is actually happening in your mouth. If you can’t stand the thought of looking at your teeth, please let your dentist know!


X-rays are still an important part of any dental examination to help diagnose any problems under the surface or around the foundations of the teeth.

These x-rays provide valuable information that your dentist could not detect otherwise. X-rays can detect cavities between the teeth, and can depict approximately how deep a cavity extends relative to the nerve. They can also help diagnose Periodntal Disease, Abscesses, cysts, tumors, developmental abnormalities and infections in the bone.

These are usually taken by having you bite on a small tab which steadies the x-ray film in your mouth while the dentist positions the x-ray beam so that they can take the picture (bitewing x-rays). The x-ray beam looks exactly like a telescope. It’s usually on the end of a mechanical arm so it can be adjusted to get it close to the x-ray film for the best picture. It’s because the x-rays travel in a straight line that often there’s no need to wear heavy lead aprons any more. The x-ray films that you hold in your mouth aren’t terribly mouth shaped and some patients find them uncomfortable, but they’re usually over fairly quickly. These films are made of soft plastic and are about 3cm x 4cm in size, although smaller ones are available. The smaller x-ray films do not show as many teeth however and your dentist might have to take more pictures then. To hold the film in your mouth your dentist will ask you to gently close your teeth together on to a small paper tab or plastic holder whilst the film is in your mouth. If you feel something soft, like a sausage, between your teeth it might be your dentist’s finger! Please resist the urge to bite too hard…

Our Surgery has digital x-rays which will come up on a computer screen much more quickly than the normal x-ray developer. The film placed in your mouth tends to be slightly bulkier, however the radiation dose is much smaller than routine dental x-rays (even though the dose of radiation of normal x-rays is low too).

Your dentist will also take an OPG x-ray, this machine can take a picture of all your teeth at once (panoramic). This involves sitting or standing still whilst the machine slowly rotates around your head. It will not touch you at any point. The picture it provides is a useful overview of your teeth and bones but is no substitute really for the smaller close-up films.

Periodontal Probing

As part of a routine check of your mouth, Your dentist will also want to have a look at the foundations of your teeth, or in technical speak ‘your gums’! You may notice from time to time when you are brushing your teeth that there is a little bit of blood when you spit out. This bleeding may indicate the presence of gingivitis or gum disease. Your dentist has a small probe with a special tiny ball on the end of it, imaginatively called ‘the ball-ended probe’. This is used to gently run around the necks of your teeth where they meet the gums. The first signs of gum disease always start here and your dentist will not want to press hard at all on the gums. By doing this check, your dentist can identify any areas where gum disease is present. Oftentimes just telling you where you may have been missing the gum during brushing will solve this problem.

On some areas of your mouth you may have a build up of calcium deposits on the teeth. This is called calculus or tartar. If left in place the gum can become inflamed under the calculus area, so the dentist will make a note of this and may wish to provide some cleaning for you as part of your dental treatment, with our Dental Hygienist.

Other areas of your mouth

Your dentist will want to have a general look around the skin of your mouth (technically, ‘the mucosa’). This does not involve probing, and should be a purely visual check to make sure everything is healthy.

Your dentist will also check you TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint). The main causes of teeth grinding and clenching (Bruxism) are stress, and poor bite. People often take out their worries, fears and stress subconsciously, while they sleep, causing the muscles and joints associated with the mouth to become strained and over-worked. These muscles can go into spasm, and joints can become inflamed and result in the pain of TMJ. Teeth clenching and grinding can also result in the loss of enamel, causing teeth to become more sensitive and causing the eventual need for root canal therapy and crowns. Grinding can also cause teeth to fracture and can cause mobility of the teeth.

Having most of the information that your dentist needs now, he can give you a run-through of his findings, and answer any questions that you may have. Your dentist will also give you a rough idea of how many appointments you will require and estimate a cost for your treatment.


Our reception team is one of the best, they are dedicated to making your appointment as easy and hassle free as possible.


Our practice is fitted with modern facilities including the newest and best dental chairs, monitors and … netflix.


We use state of the art software and technology at our practice, ensuring the best results are delivered to you every time.


We are very fortunate to have an Oral Health Therapist and Dental Hygienist who work with us, they are second to none.


It is important to have regular check-ups with your dentist, don’t let the pain become unbearable before making the call.


At Dental on Clarendon, we care about our patients and think of them as family. If you have a suggestion on how we can improve, we would love to hear from you.


Here at Dental & Health on Clarendon we don’t just treat our clients, we care for them. We constantly aim to be the best dentist in South Melbourne by providing superior services and excellence in all aspects of cosmetic, general and restorative dentistry.

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