You have an appointment with a new dentist. You may feel anticipation and a little anxiety – something like a first date. Like any new relationship, you’ll ask each other questions.
So what should you expect?
First, a dentist will need to know your medical and dental history and will ask about your medications. This will help them understand your overall health.
The dental assistant will take x-rays of your teeth to look for signs of decay, bone loss, abscesses, impacted teeth or tooth alignment problems.
Your dentist also may monitor your blood pressure to test for hypertension.
The dentist will examine your mouth, of course. During the exam, the dentist will probably:
- Probe gums to check for signs of gum disease
- Screen for oral cancer
- Evaluate soft tissue and perform a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) exam
- Inspect your existing fillings and crowns to look for leakage or cracks that could result in tooth decay
- Look for possible cosmetic alterations that could help your smile
- Examine you for potential bite problems and conduct an orthodontic screening
Radiographic images taken may include bite wings that are used to find tooth decay, bone level, calculus (tartar) accumulation, and periodontal pockets. Your dentist also may order a full mouth series consisting of 16-18 pictures or a panoramic x-ray that would show both the top and bottom teeth.
Your first visit to a new dentist may not exactly be like a first date, but the idea is the same – you want a good relationship that will last a long time.