Part of the answer lies in the reason for the visit, is it trauma or emergency related or is it to establish a new dental home for routine care. In this space we will talk about establishing a new dental home. The emergency visit will come later.
There is no reason that the appointment should not be a pleasant experience, especially if you come prepared. That first visit is largely a fact finding mission, some of which can be done ahead of time. Patient information/health history forms can be found on the office website, printed and filled out at your convenience. Just remember to either mail them to the office ahead of time or bring them with you to the appointment. Insurance information can be provided to the receptionist before hand. With a few basic pieces of information your benefits can be verified and you can know your estimated costs before you even come in. Don’t forget to bring in a list of medications/supplements taken and a list of any questions you may have. Once here, it is time for the fact finding to begin. Both a clinical, visual examination will be done as well as obtaining some x-rays in most cases. Neither shows 100% of what may be going on in your mouth. X-rays can show a cavity developing in between teeth or even on the chewing surface of a tooth through a hole too small to be felt with our explorer (the small pointed instrument used to find cavities) and other abnormalities. Visual examination is needed for you gingiva (gums), oral lesions, cavities that won’t show on an x-ray because they are hidden by existing fillings or crown. The visual, clinical examination will include noting what teeth are present, which are missing, what restorations exist (fillings, crowns etc) and what problems exist (broken, decayed teeth). A measuring probe will be used to gently measure the depth of the collar that your gums form around each and every tooth. Your, gums and other soft tissue will be examined. Once all of the information has been obtained and you have had a chance to tell the doctor what your concerns are, options can be discussed and a treatment plan can be formulated on how to achieve the desired results.