Your first visit to a new dental office is an extremely important visit for you. The first visit is also important to the dentist. This visit will pave the way for all future visits and the future health of your mouth. There are so many dentists to choose from! Whether you look online, in a phone book or even as you drive down the road and see signs, you can see that there is no shortage of dentists. And guess what…all of them are different! Some dentists are highly trained and perform very complex dentistry. They love doing this kind of dentistry and they get great results. Others prefer doing basic dentistry, they love doing just that and they do it well. Unfortunately, there are some dentists that advertise that they are trained to do complex dentistry, but they are not. For the patient that just needs fillings and cleanings, most any dentist will suffice. However, if you need more complex dental work, you need to do some investigating to find a dentist who can provide you with quality, long-lasting dentistry. Here are some clues that you can use in your investigation:
1. The Examination
Your exam should include an assessment of not just your teeth, but your gums as well. (Would a home inspector not look at the foundation of a house during an inspection?) The appearance or esthetics should be considered. Do you like the way your teeth look when you smile? Would you like them to be straighter? Whiter? Do you have a “gummy” smile? Are any of your teeth mobile? Do any need root canals?
X-rays are a critical part of diagnosing dental disease. Diagnosing dental problems without x-rays is like working in the dark with your eyes closed. Of course nobody wants to be exposed to radiation more than necessary, but today’s x-rays allow us to see much more with much less radiation than years ago. Digital x-rays on the computer screen are enhanced and provide critical information. Cone Beam CT scans provide a three dimensional view of teeth and bone and are critical in the placement of dental implants, as well as helping to detect infections or other pathology that doesn’t show up on conventional x-rays.
3. Bite Evaluation
The way that teeth meet is a critical issue in your ability to chew and in keeping the dentition healthy long term. Often times, it is essential to get impressions for study models to best assess the bite situation.
A two-way discussion with your dentist is so important. This lets the dentist know what your goals and desires are in regard to the future of your mouth. Time should be provided to ask any and all questions that you may have. This way, the dentist can formulate a treatment plan that will give you the results you are looking for. It is important to know what to expect from each visit.
If you make sure that none of these key points are missing from your dental visit, you and your mouth are more likely to have a healthy and long-lasting relationship with your dentist.