Being well-prepared for your appointment will ensure that the doctor has all of the needed information to provide the best possible care for you. It also will help relieve any unnecessary anxiety you may be feeling. You can also save some time by printing out and completing the patient forms in advance of your appointment. We look forward to your first visit.
During the first visit, we make sure to obtain important background information, like your medical and dental history. Your initial oral examination includes a visual examination, charting and periodontal probing, oral cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment recommendations. We will also take a full mouth series of x-rays for proper diagnosis of decay and/or infection. Your medical and dental history will be reviewed and your mouth examined before a decision is made to take X-rays of your teeth. Depending on the amount of plaque, calculus and stain build up we will also try to finish your dental cleaning and polishing in the same appointment.
- Some cavities are easy to see, but an accurate diagnosis often demands an X-ray. We use that to look for decay between teeth or decay that is developing underneath an existing filling. We can also see bone loss (which is not visible to the eye), root tips, fractures, and so much more. With dental X-rays, dentists can see the entire tooth, and make better treatment decisions. Radiographs are used to monitor tooth growth and development in children and they also reveal problems in a tooth, such as infection of the nerve.
- Panoramic radiographs show the entire mouth area – all teeth on both upper and lower jaws – on a single X-ray and they can reveal whether there is space in the mouth to fit the new teeth and whether primary teeth are being lost quickly enough to allow permanent teeth to erupt properly or whether any teeth are impacted, such as wisdom teeth.
- One of the other tools we have available is the intraoral camera, which is a machine with a wand and light attached to it. We can also take “pictures” of your teeth with the wand and send or email them along with the digital X-rays to either specialist offices or your insurance company.
Computerized equipment and software capture X-ray images of the mouth and teeth. This is done by exposing a small sensor or plate that feeds the image into the computer. Digital radiography has many advantages over traditional dental X-rays like: uses 80% less radiation than conventional X-rays while producing an image of similar contrast, images can be stored electronically and emailed to specialist and insurance companies, time efficient through bypassing chemical processing, immediate image preview and availability and the options available for the dentist to enhance an image to improve viewing. Besides being faster, digital x-rays provide a convenient way for a dentist to discuss dental needs with their patients as they view the pictures together on a nearby computer screen.
How often dental X-rays (radiographs) should be taken depends on the patient`s individual health needs. It is important to recognize that just as each patient is different from the next, so should the scheduling of X-ray exams be individualized for each patient and should not depend on insurance coverage. The schedule for needing radiographs at recall visits varies according to your age, risk for disease and signs and symptoms. Recent films may be needed to detect new cavities, or to determine the status of gum disease or for evaluation of growth and development. Children may need X-rays more often than adults because their teeth and jaws are still developing and because their teeth are more likely to be affected by tooth decay than those of adults.
We believe in an open atmosphere where patients feel comfortable discussing their treatment needs so we encourage questions and comments to assist patients in making good choices for themselves. By doing so, we ensure expectations can be met for both patient and the dentist, since it requires effort from both parties to create long lasting healthy smiles.