Your First Dental Appointment

Here’s what to expect during your first dental appointment

A comprehensive dental evaluation will seek to uncover both signs and symptoms and therefore allow a thorough and thoughtful plan to restore health back to the patient as much as possible. It is always better to solve a health-related problem as soon as one detects a sign of a problem and not once the disease process has moved to the symptom stage. This is why we feel that it is important to begin a new patient relationship with a complete and thorough dental examination.

We will ask you to be in the office 15 minutes prior to your first dental appointment to fill out our new patient forms. Or, you can save some time by printing out and completing the patient forms prior to your first dental appointment:

Once the paperwork is completed, we will review your insurance coverage in detail so you can be aware of your policy coverage and to be able to understand your benefits.

Then we will be ready to start your new patient examination, which will include the following:

  • Medical and Dental History: We will review your medical and dental history and discuss any concerns that you may have.
  • Photographs: We will take a full set of intra and extraoral photographs to establish a baseline. These pictures are helpful for you to understand any possible issues.
  • X-Rays: We will take necessary x-rays to look for any hidden issues and to diagnose any issues that may be present. Dental X-rays are an important part of routine dental care for both adults and children. Not only do dental X-rays reveal potential problems with incoming teeth, they can also reveal potential problems caused by hidden plaque. In addition to detecting common problems with teeth, getting dental X-rays during your first dental appointment can help detect gum disease and also allow us to see inside the tooth, revealing problems that we could never see with just an examination. Which x-rays you will need will be determined by the presence of your existing restorations and/or any missing or damaged teeth.
  • Complete Examination: Once the pictures and x-rays are taken, we will continue examining for loose teeth and any gum disease and evaluate each tooth for visible problems such as hairline fractures, defective fillings, cavities, or signs of wear. We also will complete a full oral cancer screening during your first dental appointment, thoroughly examining the tongue, gums, cheeks, and roof of mouth and then examining the outside skin around your mouth as well as your head and neck. Then we will conduct a complete TMJ and bite examination. We will check for tension or tenderness, signs of grinding or clenching, your muscle strength, and your bite.
  • After the comprehensive examination is completed, we will review with you in detail the findings, and we will discuss the treatment options (if needed), and we will answer all of your questions.
  • As part of this examination, when we know the health condition of your gum, we will be able to determine the type of dental cleaning that you will require. With this information, we can then schedule the right follow-up appointment for after your first dental appointment. In some cases, we will be able to do your prophylaxis (cleaning) on the same day. If not, we will do our best to find the right appointment for you. For us, it is very important to spend the right amount of time with you during your complete comprehensive examination appointment rather than shortening this important part of the examination appointment to do your dental cleaning.
  • If you have an appointment for new patient exam, please reserve 60 minutes of your time to spend with us for your first dental appointment. For your dental prophylaxis (cleaning), depending on the type required, it could take between 45 to 60 additional minutes.