To help you make an informed choice and an educated decision on your dental healthcare home, we would like to offer you some suggestions on ways to choose a dental office that will provide the kind of care you need and deserve. Going into a new healthcare setting with a “checklist of quality” is the wisest way to make sure you continue to get the best care possible.
One of the best ways to judge quality is to look closely at what happens at the initial visit during the comprehensive examination. The thoroughness and attention to detail that the dentist and the dental team exhibit during that first visit can give you a clue as to the quality of care you’ll receive later.
The exam for first-time patients should take from an hour to an hour and a half and should include a tooth-by-tooth cavity check, a gum disease screening, a test to measure the health of your jaw joint and the stability of your bite, an oral cancer screening and any necessary radiographs to check not only for cavities but also for the condition of the supporting bone structure.
The doctor needs to spend a good deal of time with you at this first visit in order to perform each of these screening examinations thoroughly. For example, in the periodontal examination, the dentist uses a periodontal probe to measure the depth of your periodontal pockets – he or she is checking for gum disease which can lead to bone loss and subsequent tooth loss.
The infection control procedures should meet or exceed those mandated by CDC, OSHA, and the State Dental Board. Every dental practice knows about these standards of care. If the one you choose is not following them, you need to know why.
If at any time we can be of service to you, please don’t hesitate to call – even if it’s just to answer a question or to help you evaluate your dental coverage.