Your First Dental Appointment

There are four main goals that your dentist has for your first dental appointment.
First, we ask that you give us a complete medical history, including a list of your current medications. Different conditions and different medications may require different treatment options for your future dental appointments, such as pre-medicating for certain conditions or the use of non-latex materials. While our dental team treats every patient with the same level of respect, we also will treat you as an individual with detailed attention to your specific needs and concerns.
Second, we will take a “full series” of radiographs, or “x-rays.” Even with the most thorough visual exam, our dental team can only see 25% of your tooth’s structure. As these pictures show, a tooth may appear to be healthy when you look at it, but the x-ray shows decay on the tooth that requires treatment. We have many patients who travel between multiple homes, and with our digital technology, we can easily forward any x-rays that we take to your other dental providers.
Third, you will have a comprehensive exam performed by your dentist. Not only will the dentist look at the appearance of your teeth, she will also look at the function of your teeth, the wear of your teeth, your temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ), and she will do a visual screening for oral cancer. In addition, the depths of the periodontal pockets around your teeth will be noted in your dental chart (“perio probing”). In order to discuss any areas of concern or to explain answers to any questions that you may have, we may take digital photographs of your mouth. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words!
Fourth, our hygienist will “clean” your teeth. This part of your appointment will start with laser bacterial reduction, a non-invasive and completely comfortable procedure that reduces the number of bacteria in your mouth. Next, all of the plaque and tarter on your teeth will be removed, and then your teeth will be polished for that sparkly, shiny smile that you want!

Intraoral Photo and Radiograph

Although this tooth looks fine to the naked eye, an x-ray reveals interproximal (between the teeth) decay.

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3 thoughts on “Your First Dental Appointment

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