The dental examination tends to be one of our greatest fears. What will the dentist do? Will it be painful? Is the treatment affordable? What will they find? These are some of the dreaded questions patients ask on their first visit to the dentist.
Today’s best dental exam should not be focused just on a single tooth, but rather the exam should be more comprehensive so your dentist prepares a treatment plan. This plan serves in your best interest. A good plan saves money and preserves your dental health.
In my practice, at Center for Specialized Dentistry, I often see advanced and debilitating diseases. Patients are often anxious, frustrated and uninspired about their dental condition. It is important that in correcting their ailments, our team gets it right the first time.
This is what you should expect from your first-class dental examination:
• A gum (periodontal) examination including probing of pocket depths to determine the amount of bone support, gum recession, gum thickness and tooth mobility.
• A complete dental examination that looks at tooth decay, broken fillings, silver fillings, worn fillings, leaky or broken crowns, tooth abrasion at gum line, etc.
• Full mouth x-rays. This may involve a panoramic full mouth series, bitewings or CT scan. In emergency cases, a single x-ray may be taken along with a limited exam on specific occasions.
The three focus areas above should set the stage for a great examination.
See additional areas below for a thorough exam based on your needs:
• Bite relationship of your teeth, missing teeth, teeth alignment, soft tissue evaluation.
• Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ), tonsillar areas, muscle assessment.
• CT scan – a 3D image used for further information like implants, tumors, bone defects, impactions, major infections, orthodontics, fractures and foreign bodies.
• Study models or digital teeth and soft tissue scan for treatment planning, braces, pre-treatment information.
• Pictures of teeth, gums and soft tissues – great to show patients and see before/after results.
You would see from this list the importance of a treatment plan. A good plan is the key to your success. It sets goals that create that beautiful smile over a period of time. Remember, a proper dental plan saves money and preserves your dental health.
The process is completed when all of the information collected and a diagnosis is made followed by a candid discussion and presentation. This should include information about your medical history, family history and financial terms of the proposed treatment. When accepted by the patient, then the treatment begins.
Overall, the experience should be a pleasant one. When you leave the office, you should be well informed, educated, and presented with alternative choices to make an informed decision. If you need further clarity, then a second opinion may be your choice to make.
Remember, the consultation is about you seeking the best information for yourself to create a partnership with a conscientious and competent dentist who looks out for your best interest.
Next issue: The diagnosis – the key to success in dental treatment
• Dr. Kendal V. O. Major is founder and CEO of Center for Specialized Dentistry, a comprehensive family dental practice operating in New Providence and Grand Bahama. He is the first Bahamian specialist in gum diseases and dental implants since 1989. He is also a certified Fastbraces provider. His practice is located at 89 Collins Avenue; he can be reached at telephone (242) 325-5165 or firstname.lastname@example.org.