Your first appointment with us will involve a comprehensive examination. Your dentist will have a detailed discussion with you of any treatment you may need.

It’s important to tell the dentist about your overall health, your dental concerns, and any fears or worries you may have about the visit.

  • Your overall health — Tell your dentist if you've been diagnosed with any diseases or are taking any medicines. It is important to tell your dentist about all medicines you take. This includes prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines.
  • Your dental health— Before the examination starts, tell your dentist if:
    • You think you have a cavity
    • Your teeth have become sensitive
    • You feel lumps inside your mouth
  • Your fears — Many people have fears of the dentist that go back to childhood. Pain control and treatment techniques have improved greatly in recent years. The things you fear most may not exist any longer, or there may be new and better ways of dealing with them. If you fear you have a particular disease or condition, let your dentist know. He or she can look for signs and either diagnose the problem or set your mind at ease. Often, just talking about your fears will take some of the edge off.

Our dentists will look at much more than just your teeth. They will check other areas inside and outside your mouth for signs of disease or other problems. For example:

Head and neck — Your dentist will check your head and neck, temporomandibular (jaw) joint, salivary glands and lymph nodes in your neck area. He or she will look at your face, neck and lips to make sure there are no unusual swellings, lip dryness, bleeding or other abnormalities that need to be checked further.

Your temporomandibular joint is the joint that guides your lower jaw when you open your mouth. It’s often called the TMJ. To see if the joint is working properly, your dentist will ask you to open and close your mouth and to move your lower jaw from side to side. You will be asked if you have had any pain or soreness in the joint. Your dentist may touch the joint while you open and close your mouth. This allows the dentist to feel for hitches or catches in movement that may indicate problemsYour dentist also will touch salivary glands and lymph nodes in your neck area. Swelling or tenderness there may indicate infection or disease.

Soft tissue — The soft tissues of the mouth include the tongue, the inside of the lips and cheeks, and the floor and roof of the mouth. Your dentist will check for spots, cuts, swellings, growths or other abnormal areas that may indicate problems with oral health.

Periodontal — A periodontal examination involves checking the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. First, your dentist will look at the gums for signs of redness or puffiness. He or she will poke them gently to see how easily they bleed. These symptoms may indicate gum disease. If your dentist determines that you have periodontal disease, he or she may refer you to a periodontist. This is a specialist who treats diseases of the gums. You will be able to see a periodontist at your own CFD practice

Occlusion — Your dentist may check how well your teeth fit together by examining your bite. First, you will be asked to bite naturally. If the teeth don’t seem to fit together properly, your dentist may have you bite down on special wax or paper. Your teeth make an impression in the wax that can help show how your teeth meet. The paper makes temporary marks on your teeth that show where your teeth come together.

Clinical examination of teeth — Your dentist will check for decay by looking at every tooth surface (using a mirror to see the back sides of teeth). He or she will also investigate your teeth with a tool called an explorer to detect cavities. Decayed tooth enamel is softer than healthy enamel. If you have fillings, permanent bridges, crowns or other restorations, your dentist will check to make certain that they remain whole and sound and that the teeth around them have no sign of decay.

X-rays – These will be taken to help your dentist look for decay (cavities) or other oral health problems that cannot be seen during the clinical exam. X-rays also provide the best way for the dentist to see a need for root canal treatment, or bone loss that may indicate advanced gum disease. After the x-ray you will be able to look at the result on you chair side screen. It is a great tool in helping you understand where problems may occur.

Treatment recommendations — If your dentist finds any problems, he or she will recommend steps to fix them. Your treatment plan will be printed out for you to take home. The dentist will explain each part of the treatment plan in detail and it is essential you feel comfortable and understand the plan and any associated costs. The dentist will give you leaflets to take away, or you can check the treatment section of this website for more information.

You may be referred to the hygienist for further cleaning. The hygienist typically will check your gums and teeth, clean and polish your teeth, and talk to you about caring for your teeth and gums properly at home.

Cleaning — The purpose of professional dental cleaning is to remove the hard calculus (also called tartar) from above and just below the gum line. Brushing and flossing at home removes plaque. Only dental instruments can remove calculus.

Polishing — After the calculus is removed, the crowns of your teeth (the parts that show) may be polished to remove plaque and surface stains. Typically, but not always, an abrasive substance is applied to the teeth with a small rotating rubber cup or brush. This helps to scrub away stains. The polishing substance will feel gritty in your mouth. You will be given chances to rinse.

Prevention — The hygienist may offer instructions for oral care at home based on the results of the exam. He or she may demonstrate how to brush and floss properly. Sometimes, the hygienist will teach you to use a disclosing agent to test your brushing ability. This shows up areas where teeth need to be more thoroughly cleaned.

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