Dental Examinations in Bakersfield, CA

Regular Dental Exams: The Key to Maintaining Oral Health

The journey to improving and maintaining your oral health starts with a plan. At Gentle Family Dentistry, your Bakersfield dentist, Dr. Jonathan Garger, creates a personalized plan for your smile with your first dental exam. Bi-yearly visits for exams allow your dentist to gain the necessary understanding of your smile and your level of oral health. Once he has the full picture of the problems you face with your oral health, he’ll start you on the path to a healthier smile. 

What is A Dental Exam? 

Dental exams are routine oral health check-ups. During a dental exam, your preventive dentist will thoroughly inspect your throat, oral cavity, and certain areas of your head. This allows them to know exactly what’s going on with your oral health and monitor it closely throughout the year. Keep reading to learn more about what happens during a routine dental exam and how they can help our Bakersfield dental team keep your smile beautiful and strong.

office exam and clear aligners
dental exam with smiling woman

Benefits of Dental Exams

Improved and Maintained Oral Health – With routine dental exams, your Bakersfield preventive dentist can understand exactly what your smile needs to be healthy and strong. This understanding on the part of your preventive dentist means you’re more likely to enjoy better oral health year-round.  

Saves Time and Money – Routine exams mean your preventive dentist can intervene much sooner if an oral health issue develops. This saves you time and money by potentially preventing the need for more costly and time-consuming procedures.

Comprehensive Development of Future Dental Plans – Routine dental exams help your preventive dentist develop a treatment plan that takes into account your long-term and overall health needs. When working from an informed position, your treatment will be more individualized and better suited to the specifics of your unique case.     

Dental Exams at Gentle Family Dentistry: Step-by-Step 

dental x-ray

Digital X-Rays

Digital X-rays are a relatively recent development that has dramatically improved the efficiency, speed, and safety of radiography. By using a sensor instead of film, radiation dosage to the patient has been reduced by at least 90%.

The digital x-ray image uploads to a video screen five seconds after the x-ray is taken instead as opposed to waiting five minutes for the film to come out of a developer. They enable your dentist to see through teeth and bones to detect decay, infections, and loss of bone.


DIAGNOdent® is a cavity detector that reads fluorescence levels reflected from a laser source. It is a huge improvement on the old way dentists have checked teeth for decay using a pick or feeling for the instrument to stick into a soft spot.

The problem with the old method is that it would fail to detect decay that was obscured by enamel fissures that were finer than the tip of the pick. By the time the pick would find the cavity, the decay would have been allowed to spread into the softer dentin layer until the obscuring enamel was undermined enough to break from the pick’s pressure.

The DIAGNOdent® can detect the decay much sooner, when it has just started into the dentin, instead of when it has spread close to the dental pulp (tissue and nerves) inside of the tooth.

dental bonding procedure
Close up of teeth

Gingival Mapping

Gingival mapping, also called “probing” or “periodontal probing,” involves measuring the depth of the pockets around the teeth and the amount of recession of the gums that might be present. This step is very important because it means we can note if the patient’s gum condition is improving, worsening, or staying the same.

This information is critical so that your preventive dentist can determine if the present gum therapy is working, or if some other treatment is necessary. In our Bakersfield dental office, this mapping is updated yearly for our patients.

Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer screening is an important part of every periodic exam because although oral cancer is rare, depending upon how early it is detected, it only has a 57% survival rate after 5 years. Early stages are often unnoticed, so vigilance is important. If you notice any lumps or changes in color in your mouth that won’t go away within 10 days, be sure to contact Gentle Family Dentistry by dialing 661-664-9900 to get it checked. We utilize advanced methods to detect potentially abnormal tissues and will refer you to a specialist without delay if we notice something that might be wrong.

woman undergoing intraoral imaging
woman undergoing dental exam

Occlusal Evaluation

When we perform an exam, we don’t only look at the individual teeth. We also examine the mouth as a whole unit including how the upper arch of teeth and the lower arch of teeth interact with one another and whether or not there is crowding or spacing between the teeth. This is called an occlusal evaluation.

If the teeth are not meeting properly, damage to the teeth and TMJ disorder can result. Crowding of the teeth, besides being unsightly, makes the teeth harder to clean. Spacing of the teeth can result in unstable teeth, resulting in tipping or mobility. Maintaining a healthy occlusion will help ensure a stable future for your dental comfort and your smile. 

Instructions for a Healthy Smile

Each of our dental hygienists has been college educated and has extensive training in dental care; including health promotion patient education. Each of our patients receives instructions for their best and healthiest smiles, according to their individualized dental needs. Instructions are reinforced and modified as needed, at each appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Visit Gentle Family Dentistry For Comprehensive Dental Exams

At Gentle Family Dentistry, routine dental exams performed with advanced dental technology, help Dr. Garger and our dental team keep track of your oral health, prevent dental issues, and intervene quickly in case of oral health troubles. We provide comprehensive dental exams to patients from Bakersfield and surrounding areas such as Gosford, Alameda, and Lakeview, CA. Schedule your dental exam by calling us at 661-664-9900. You can also fill out the contact form below and one of our friendly team members will get back to you shortly.