Checkups – Your First Examination

During your first appointment we will take the time to speak with you about any concerns you may have. Then we will perform a comprehensive examination where we will check your teeth and your gums and perform an oral cancer check. If x-rays are needed we will do those too. It will normally take about an hour.

If follow up treatment is needed we will discuss it together and you can ask any questions you need to.

Before your examination, we will chat about your general health, your dental concerns and any fears or worries you may have about your dentist visit.

What do I need to tell the dentist at my first visit?

Your general health — your dentist will need to know if you’ve been diagnosed with any diseases or you are taking any medicines, either prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

Your dental health — Before the examination starts, tell your dentist if:

  •     You are concerned you have a new cavity
  •     Your teeth have become more sensitive
  •     You feel any lumps inside your mouth

Your fears — Many people are fearful of the dentist. These fears often go back to childhood. It's important to know that dentistry has really moved forward and pain control and treatment techniques have improved greatly in recent years. If you are concerned at all let your dentist know - it's perfectly ok and far more common than you think. We truely understand.

What happens during the first examination?

We will look at your teeth, your gums and other areas inside and outside your mouth for signs of disease or other problems. For example:

Clinical examination of teeth — Using a mirror to see the back and sides of your teeth, we will check for decay by looking at every tooth surface and check for any cavities.  If you already have any fillings, permanent bridges, crowns or other restorations, we will check to make sure that they are sound and that the teeth around them have no signs of decay.

Periodontal — This involves checking the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. First, your dentist will look for signs of redness or puffiness that may indicate gum disease.

Occlusion — By examining your bite, your dentist can check how well your teeth fit together.

Soft tissue — Your dentist will check all the soft tissues of your mouth for any spots, cuts, swellings, growths or other abnormal areas that may indicate problems with oral health.

Head and neck — Your dentist will check your head and neck, temporomandibular (jaw) joint, and the glands in your neck to make sure there are no unusual swellings, dryness, bleeding or other abnormalities that may need to be checked further.

Photographs – these are taken to ensure we have thorough records of your teeth and so we can show you what is happening in your mouth.

X-rays – These will be taken to help look for decay (cavities) or other oral health problems that can't be seen during the clinical exam. X-rays also offer the best way for the dentist to see a need for root canal treatment, or bone loss that may indicate advanced gum disease.

What happens after the examination?

Treatment recommendations — If your dentist finds any problems, she will recommend steps to fix them. Your dentist won't pressure you into treatment options. The dentist will take the time to discuss the options you have and the advantages and disadvantages of these, so that way you can decide what is best for you.

The dentist will explain any suggested treatments in detail so that you can feel comfortable and understand the treatment.

What about cleaning and polishing?

If there is time during your first examination, the dentist will perform a professional scale and clean.

Cleaning — The purpose of professional cleaning is to remove the hard calculus from above and just below the gum line. Whilst, a good brushing and flossing routine that you perform at home removes plaque only dental instruments can remove calculus.

Polishing — After cleaning the calculus away, the crowns of your teeth (the parts that show) may be polished to remove plaque and surface stains.

Prevention — You may be offered instructions for dental care at home based on the results of the exam such as how to brush and floss properly.

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