Dental One Associates of Columbia
10630 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 410, Columbia, MD 21044

General Dentistry Basics – Understanding Your Dental Exam


If you want to keep your gorgeous smile, you have to take care of your teeth and gums. Great oral hygiene, professional cleanings, and regular dental visits are essential. A routine dental exam is one of the most important things you can do to maintain great oral health. You should schedule a checkup at least once per year or more often if you have chronic dental problems. At each visit, you’ll receive a complete visual and manual exam of your teeth and gums and an oral cancer screening.

The Lowdown on Visual and Manual Dental Exams

One of the most basic and vital procedures in general dentistry is the visual exam. Your dentist starts by closely inspecting all of your teeth and the tissues surrounding them. He or she will also check each tooth with a dental instrument called an explorer to help uncover any decay, stains, or indications of gum recession. Your dentist may also want to take a closer look at the condition of your teeth by ordering a variety of dental X-rays; these can aid in the diagnosis of many dental problems that are not obvious during a visual exam.

What’s Involved in an Oral Cancer Screening

Your oral cancer screening involves exploration of the skin and soft tissues inside your mouth in search of lumps, lesions, and other suspicious abnormalities. If an unusual or suspicious area is found, you will need further testing to determine if cancer is present. You may be referred to an oral surgeon for a biopsy. Your risk of oral cancer is higher if you use tobacco products, drink alcohol excessively, or have a previous history of oral cancer. If you are concerned about your cancer risk, ask your dentist to refer you for specialized oral cancer screenings.

How to Find Dentists to Meet your Needs

When it’s time to schedule your general dentistry checkup, contact your family dental clinic. Keep in mind that some dental insurance companies will only cover basic exams, so it’s best to determine exactly what services are covered before your appointment date arrives. If you don’t already have a trusted family dental professional in mind, check listings for general dentistry or family dentistry in your phone directory or online to find dentists who can treat both you and the rest of your family members.

To learn about our family dentistry practice in Columbia, call Dental One Associates of Columbia today at (410) 346-2350 or make an appointment.

Dental One Associates offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in Columbia. With 12 affiliated practices throughout Maryland, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Dental One Associates of Columbia, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at Dental One Associates of Columbia.

Read What Our Patients Say
Patient Reviews
Dee Ann is a marvelous dental assistant. I would recommend her to anyone.
Thomas S.
Very nice staff that seem very skilled in all areas.
Rhonda M.
I have been going here for awhile now and while I always get nervous and a bit jittery they do well with calming me down. They performed my wisdom tooth removal well and haven’t had any problems […]
Josh R.
Although I am not a fan dental work (who is), this was truly a great experience. Dr. Zand and Dr. CT were the best. As soon as I walked in their office, they made me feel comfortable about getting a […]
Ashanti C.
Awesome fast service and clean place. I had a tooth extracted and everything went well.
Luis D.
Dr. Philippi is wonderful and the staff that works for her are just as great!
Natasha R.
Every member of Dr. Wright’s team is just outstanding and they really understand the anxiety around visiting your favorite dentist. Great customer awareness and care, I always leave there smiling. […]
Lou K.
State-of-the-art facility with all the most advanced technology and knowledgeable dentists. Recommended treatment plans are laid out and an easy-to-follow matter with complete explanations
Yolanda T.
I appreciate the professionalism and thorough nature of your providers.
Donald K.
Pleasant, efficient, and knowledgable staff.
Barbara T.
My wait time is always minimal and the dentist and his assistant are awesome!!
Rania H.
Dr. Barrow is the best!!
Vera K.
Friendly knowledgeable helpful staff. A dentist who took the time and effort to explain things and to get more done sooner and faster.
Christine A.
On this particular visit I saw the dental hygienist, She was friendly, thorough and took the time to explain everything she did on this visit as well as the treatments she would be performing on […]
Michael H.
Deeann was amazing. She allayed all of my concerns. Never made me feel bad because of the condition of my teeth or fear of dentists. Gave me good ideas to improve my oral hygiene. I was worried for […]
Tiffany J.
I love my hygienist and assistant. Maxine and Mina are awesome. They educate me on proper dental care and answer my questions. They are always professional, kind and courteous. My wait times are […]
Donella J.
The dental office staff, dental staff, etc. are all terrific!
Katherine B.
The dental hygienist was very good
Michael H.
Great services always clean and keeps it professional !!!
Brittany H.
The dentist took extra care in cleaning my teeth. it had been a few years since my last cleaning. The solution he used to numb my mouth was great. I had two appointments to clean half of my mouth at […]
Walter H.
We Accept Most Insurance Plans!
Learn More

We accept most insurance plans and will be happy to help you understand the coverage that you have. We will do our best to see that you receive your maximum insurance benefits for all covered services.

No Insurance? No Worries! See our discounts and offers here

Office Hours
  • Monday 8:00 AM - 5:30 PM
  • Tuesday 8:00 AM - 5:30 PM
  • Wednesday 8:00 AM - 5:30 PM
  • Thursday 8:00 AM - 5:30 PM
  • Friday 8:00 AM - 5:30 PM
  • Saturday 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM
  • Sunday Closed
Get in touch:
  • Phone: (410) 346-2350
Our Location