Has it Been a While since You’ve Seen the Dentist?

I have not been to the dentist in a while. What should I expect for my first visit?

Every new patient in a dental office deserves a thorough and comprehensive exam. Congratulations to you for making your dental care a priority so that problems do not escalate. 

During your first appointment, your medical history is reviewed and baseline blood pressure taken. A detailed oral cancer screening is done to check for lumps in the head or neck.  This screening includes checking to make sure there are no irregular lesions that have been in existence for more than two weeks. A velscope is used to detect lesions under the surface that might not yet be identifiable through a visual exam.

An exam of the joints and muscles in the jaw is performed by checking the range of motion and for tension or tenderness. It is important to make sure there are no sounds coming from the joint such as popping, clicking or crunching.

Your teeth are charted for a record of any current conditions and gum tissue is checked for gum disease.  X-rays and/or a CBCT are taken to see if there are cavities, abscesses or bone loss, and to come up with a treatment plan for implants.

A final tooth-by-tooth condition check is done to determine any problems that can be taken care of before they become more expensive or painful.  The sooner you get checked, the less likely a dental emergency will be. 

About the author

Stacey Hall, D.D.S