Into the Unknown
Has it been a while? Are you switching dentists? Or maybe, you have never been to the dentist before. Whatever the reason, it’s always handy to prepare for what’s ahead. Having knowledge on your side can help give you the motivation to schedule your first dental appointment while also combating any dental anxiety you may have. We’ll walk you through how to make your first dental appointment with us and what to expect when you arrive.
Picking Up the Phone
Sometimes the hardest part of scheduling your first dental appointment is picking up the phone in the first place. If you have any aches or pains, it’s important to realize that persistent toothaches only get worse and more expensive over time. Even if you have no aches or pains, you’ll still want to give your dentist a call. Staying up-to-date on exams and cleanings can catch or prevent more expensive problems before they start. You can save some money long-term while also having peace of mind that your mouth is as healthy as it can be. If you’re still on the fence about picking up the phone, feel free to check out some of our reviews online. Reading about the experience of others can certainly make you feel more motivated to call today.
During the Phone Call
We absolutely love hearing from all of our new patients. They all have a story to tell, and we’re happy to be here to help. When you call in for the first time, one of our friendly team members will ask you a few questions about current insurance, if you have any previous x-rays from a former dentist, and if you are experiencing any toothaches (it’s okay to feel good too!). Please know that if you have an emergency toothache, we may schedule you for a shorter appointment where we will only look at the troublesome area. At a later date, we will need to take a look at the entire mouth, which will include a more thorough exam. As the call comes to an end, feel free to ask any questions you may have. Never feel embarrassed to ask if you do not know.
The Day of Your First Dental Appointment
What happens at your first dental appointment? When you first arrive, expect our front office team to greet you. We’ll have you fill out new patient paperwork in the office if you haven’t already done so in advance. You can print it out here. Be sure to bring a list of prescription medications and include any over-the-counter medications that you take if you cannot remember them all. Knowing your medical history will allow us to treat you safely and in the best way possible. After you fill out the paperwork, one of our amazing dental assistants will bring you back to a patient room.
Hanging Out with Our Dental Assistant
Our rooms are designed to bring out cozy feelings in you, so don’t be surprised if you feel totally relaxed in our spaces. When you get to the patient room, our dental assistant will take your blood pressure. In the event that you do not have x-rays from a former dentist, we’ll also take new x-rays. For urgent appointments, the dental assistant will take x-rays of the area in question. Otherwise, we will take x-rays of your entire mouth. If you’re wondering why dentists take x-rays, look at our former blog post here. For some patients, we know they worry about gagging. We want to assure you that we’ve been around the block when it comes to taking pictures of your teeth. We’re skilled at getting what we need while keeping you as comfortable as possible at your first dental appointment and beyond.
Meet Dr. Bowie
Once the dental assistant has taken x-rays, Dr. Bowie will come in to meet you. During this time, she’ll review your medical history to make sure all is accurate, and she’ll review your dental x-rays with you too. You can expect Dr. Bowie to then look at your teeth visually to check for any gum bleeding, inflammation, plaque buildup, and cavities. In order to get a better idea of the presence of gum disease, Dr. Bowie will measure the pocket depth between your teeth and gums. Anything between 1-3 mm with no bleeding indicates that the site is healthy as a horse. For pocket depths that do not meet this criteria, Dr. Bowie will talk to you about the best treatment options for healthy gums. While you hang out with Dr. Bowie, she will perform an oral cancer exam. The oral cancer exam is easy breezy. You’ll answer a series of questions and Dr. Bowie will check around for any signs of cancer, which is non-invasive and comfortable. Based on her findings, Dr. Bowie will review any recommended treatment with you and answer questions. Should a cleaning be recommended and there’s time allotted for it, you’ll get to meet one of our amazing dental hygienists next. We love them all, so we know you’ll have a great experience.
Time for Check Out
If you have any treatment that needs to be cared for, a front office team member will come in to review any treatment plan items that you need completed and future costs. They’ll factor in insurance if you have that available. If you are here without insurance, we have your back too. We can talk to you about our in-house dental savings plan. Plans range from $250-$300 a year, which include 2 cleanings for healthy teeth and gums, exams, x-rays, and 15% off all procedures with a few exceptions. Of course, you can always ask us about it too! We excel at communication, so you’ll leave with your questions answered.
Time for Check Out
Does the treatment plan look okay to you? Now you’re ready to go to the front desk to check out. At this time, we’ll take payment and schedule your next appointment with us. In some cases, a patient may need to go see a specialist. If you have a specialist referral from us, we can call the local specialist and set up an appointment for you so that it’s easy and convenient to leave without having to do anything more when you get home. Don’t forget your appointment card!
How Long Does a First Dental Appointment Take?
We need to answer your question with a question. Do you have any persistent aches you want looked at ASAP? For an emergency dental appointment, you can expect to be with us for about thirty minutes to an hour. We’ll take the necessary x-rays and our doctor will be able to come in, take a look, and discuss treatment options with you and any processes involved. Dr. Bowie likes to take her time with you, so if you do not have an urgent need, appointments will generally last just over an hour. As some patients like to get a cleaning for healthy teeth and gums at their first dental appointment, this will add time to the appointment. Expect the initial exam and a cleaning for healthy teeth and gums to last around 90 minutes. When we schedule you for future appointments, our front office team member can tell you how long the next appointment will be. You can count on us!
Going to the dentist is easy and an experience where you are guided by a team member every step of the way. If you’re ready to set up an appointment, call us today.