Unless another dentist office has shared your dental records, your first dental appointment will almost certainly include new X-rays. Bitewing X-rays are taken and used to detect tooth decay (cavities), gum disease, bone loss, and infection, while panoramic X-rays (sometimes referred to as “pan”) are used to check for impacted teeth, bone abnormalities, tumors and more.
For your protection, you’ll be fitted with a lead or lead-free apron to reduce radiation exposure. Some dental offices (like Vela Saenz Family Dentistry) use more advanced digital X-rays, which reduce radiation up to 90 percent.
If this is your first dental appointment in a while, or you’re seeing a new dentist, chances are your visit will involve a comprehensive dental exam. During the exam, your dentist will inspect your teeth and mouth for any potential problems, including signs of tooth decay, gingivitis, and periodontal disease (commonly known as gum disease). He or she will also talk with you about any problems you’ve been experiencing, such as toothaches, sensitivity, or cosmetic concerns.
Following your dental exam, you may also have a dental cleaning (known as a dental prophylaxis). Typically scheduled every six months, cleanings are important for achieving and maintaining optimal oral health. During the cleaning, a licensed dental hygienist will remove, or “scale”, accumulated dental plaque from the outside of your teeth using special instruments. He or she will also polish your teeth with a special polishing past, typically flavored for a “minty fresh” clean.
Other Dental Procedures
Based on your treatment plan and the office’s schedule, your first visit to the dentist may also involve other common dental procedures, such as tooth fillings or cosmetic treatments like a teeth whitening.
Payment & Scheduling
Following your appointment, you’ll meet with the administrative staff regarding payment and scheduling of your regular cleanings and any necessary procedures outlined in your treatment plan. If you have dental insurance, the dental staff will work with you and your insurer to determine whether your visit is partially or fully covered.