Becoming A Patient
We want to get to know you, why you are seeking care, and how we can help you meet your dental health goals. This all begins with honest communication and an exam that will be a co-discovery process for you and our doctors. We need to establish the current status of your oral health and then discuss ways we can either improve or maintain it.
In your exam, we will look at four distinct areas that define the overall health of your mouth: your smile, the way your teeth fit together, the condition of your teeth, and the health of your gums.
Evaluating your smile is the first step in the exam. We want to know what YOU think of your smile, considering coloring/staining/brightness, the amount of teeth you show, and whether your teeth are straight or crowded.
Your bite is an essential part of your overall oral health. We check for important factors when assessing your bite such as: the strength and soreness of your muscles, how evenly your teeth come together, and if you feel any pain or popping in your joint when biting.
Condition of TEETH:
The condition of your teeth will tell us a lot about what type of solutions you may need to restore them. We will examine your teeth for: plaque, sensitivity, decay, and any discoloration. We will look at the condition of your existing restorations (fillings, crowns, bonding, root canals), and whether we see any teeth that are chipped or fractured.
Your gums and bone play a critical role in restoring and preserving your oral health. Their condition dictates the foundation on which all treatment will be done. Healthy gums and bone levels help ensure long-lasting results. We look at: the color of your gums, sensitivity, pain, excessive bleeding, any recession of the gumline, and bone loss.
At your exam we will take several digital photographs of your teeth, which will help us create your treatment plan and give you a record of your progress.
Reactive vs. Proactive Dentistry
Our intention for you is an increased awareness of your present condition, what will happen if you go without treatment, and the benefits that come from participating in your treatment.
Instead of promoting reactive dentistry (which is only fixing what is broken), we prefer to spend our time finding out why you had an issue and then finding a better, more comprehensive and longer-lasting solution. Common dental problems often can stem from larger, untreated issues. This is why it is also important for our patients to be aware of the cost of doing no treatment at all.
For example, while it may seem less expensive to keep repairing cracked, chipped, or worn teeth, over time, the underlying cause can add continued strain on your teeth, muscles, and pocketbook. Putting off treatment can make issues worse, add expense and prolong the length of healing time. Knowing what could happen if your condition is left untreated is something we believe you should consider when choosing the treatment plan that will work for you.
If we find your mouth to be generally healthy with few problems that require your attention, your initial appointment will consist of a consultation explaining your diagnosis and treatment options. Occasionally, treatment (your cleaning or simple restorative procedures) can be performed the same day as the consultation. However, a complex medical history or treatment plan will require further review of the data we acquired and a second consult will be scheduled to finalize your treatment plan.
Please assist us by providing the following information at the time of your exam:
- Any x-rays (taken in the last 6 months, if applicable)
- A list of your current medications
- If you have medical or dental insurance, bring the necessary cards and information. This will save time and allow us to help you process any claims.
IMPORTANT: A parent or guardian must accompany all patients under 18 at the consultation visit.
Please alert the office if you have a medical condition that may be of concern prior to surgery (i.e. diabetes, high blood pressure, artificial heart valves, pacemakers, knee or hip replacements, history of rheumatic fever, etc.) or if you are on any medication (i.e. heart medications, aspirin, anticoagulant therapy, etc.)
If your previous dentist has taken x-rays, you may request that they forward them to our office. If there is not enough time, please pick them up and bring them to our office. If additional films are necessary, they can be taken at our office.