When You First Arrive at Our Office
You are asked to fill out a Patient Information / Health History form to provide pertinent information about yourself, your medical / dental health and your insurance coverage. You are encouraged to bring the bottles from all your medications or a detailed list to your visit. Your pharmacy may be providing you with a printed list of your medications. This is very helpful to ensure all medications are noted, and the correct spelling is available. We also will need the names of any physicians treating you, along with their addresses and phone numbers. Please bring your insurance card and your insurance booklet that describes your personal dental coverage with you to your first appointment. It is important that you fill out these forms in order to provide information that is necessary to best serve your dental needs safely and effectively.
Some patients first come to a dental office when they have an emergency. There could be pain or some area of concern. The dentist will examine the area in question, and may require some records or additional information such as a radiograph (x-ray), to arrive at a diagnosis. Then the problem and possible solutions would be explained so that the patient may decide what they would like to do.
A healthy mouth and a pleasant, confident smile, are an important part of total health. To achieve these goals the dentist needs to look thoroughly at all areas associated with the mouth, gather information, and make accurate records. The dentist will evaluate each patient and determine the radiographs (x-rays) that are necessary to ensure that the decisions for your care are based on current and complete information. We believe getting to know you, and your personal dental care objectives, is important in this process as well. This careful approach ensures that unhealthy areas are noted, and a complete plan to achieve optimal health can be presented. This complete plan may be presented at a separate consultation appointment if your case is complex and requires more detailed analysis. A patient may then make an educated decision about how they would like to proceed with their treatment options.
Once a patient’s dental condition has been restored to good health regular checks are made to prevent problems from developing unnoticed. A recall exam is an opportunity for the dentist to again thoroughly look at all the areas associated with the mouth and compare the findings to previous records. This exam is often combined with a maintenance cleaning.
What Is a Cleaning Anyway?
Many patients ask what a cleaning costs, or say they would just like a cleaning. We don’t have a quick answer to this question because the term cleaning means different things to different people, leading to confusion. Dentists and hygienists are taught how calculus (tartar) builds up and causes unsightly stain. Staining of teeth is only part of the problem because bacteria also collect and cause disease of the gums and bone which holds the teeth in the jaw. Some people have a small amount of buildup and require a short time to remove the tartar and polish the teeth to make them look and feel good. Other people build up a lot of the tartar in thick hard to remove layers that take a lot of time to thoroughly remove and bring the teeth and tissues back to good health and appearance. It may even take several visits and careful brushing and flossing at home to achieve healthy good looking teeth and gums that do not bleed or smell bad.
Sometimes a patient's first visit at a dental office is to have questions answered regarding some form of smile improvement. The answers usually have to come after a comprehensive exam is done and necessary records and patient preferences are discovered.
A pleasant smile is important to our self-esteem, and in projecting a positive image. Some of the most exciting developments in dentistry are in the area of smile improvements. Some examples are: veneers, crowns, bridges, implants, tooth whitening, bonding with tooth coloured plastic fillings, dentures.
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