Your First Dental Appointment

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What Can You Expect at Your First Dental Appointment?
There are four main goals that most dentists have for your first dental appointment.

First, they will 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 most dentists treat every patient with the same level of respect, they also will treat you as an individual with detailed attention to your specific needs and concerns.

Second, someone on the dental team will take a “full series” of radiographs, or “x-rays.” Even with the most thorough visual exam, your dentist 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. Often patients travel between multiple homes, and with newer digital technology, dental offices can easily forward any x-rays that are taken to your other dental providers.

Third, you will have a comprehensive exam by your dentist. Not only will he look at the appearance of your teeth, he will also look at the function of your teeth, the wear of your teeth, your temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ), and he will do a visual screening for oral cancer. In addition, the depths of the periodontal pockets around your teeth will be noted in your digital chart (“perio probing”). In order to discuss any areas of concern or to explain answers to any questions that you may have, many offices take digital photographs of your mouth. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words!

Fourth, the dental hygienist will “clean” your teeth. This part of your appointment may 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!

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