Haven’t been to the dentist in a while? Here are the 4 things you can expect from your first appointment at a new dental office: 

X-Rays and Exam

Cleaning and Preventative Care

Scheduling Other Procedures (If Needed)

Insurance and Payment

1).  X-Rays and Exam

Studying X-Ray Results

Be prepared to have routine x-rays taken on your first visit to Dental Masters of Alexandria. Oral x-rays are used to capture the interior health of your teeth and gums. They help your dentist identify things like tooth decay, impacted teeth and cavities.

Following your x-rays, your visit will also include a comprehensive exam. The oral examination begins with the dentist asking about your health history. They will then perform a thorough visual examination, examine the head and neck for any lumps, take bite registrations of your teeth and analyze your jaw joints and chewing muscles. They’re mainly looking for underlying problems or any abnormalities that could indicate health problems. 

The combination of the two will help your dentist put together a treatment and preventive care plan for the future and health of your teeth and gums.

2). Cleaning and Preventive Care

The American Dental Association suggests that you get your teeth cleaned at least once a year. Don’t put that deep cleaning appointment off until later, because it may lead to bigger issues that cost you time and money. Have your yearly recurring appointment scheduled, so you don’t forget.

What you can expect when you’re visiting a new dental office for a cleaning, is routine plaque removal and ensuring that the correct amount of flossing and brushing is being performed at home. They also floss your teeth while checking for things such as cavities or gum damage. 

Following the plaque and tartar debridement, there will usually be tooth polishing and other available preventive treatment add ons. Such as a fluoride treatment, which supports healthy teeth enamel and fights bacteria on the teeth and gums. 

3). Scheduling Other Procedures (If Needed)

Scheduling Future Appointments

When visiting the Dental Masters of Alexandria for the first time, something may have prompted you to make an appointment other than that annual checkup. Maybe you were having some molar pain or problems with sensitivity. Maybe you just don’t like the way your smile looks, or the color of your teeth. 

That routine appointment is a great first step to treating an ongoing issue you’ve been having dentally or maybe just cosmetically.  

At the end of your appointment, your dentist should give you a rundown of what you may or may not need done in the future and you can schedule it right there in the office.

Additional procedures may include the following:

Fillings, Crowns 

Fillings are a procedure required when the tooth has rotted or decayed. That will then be removed and filled with a composite resin such as gold, silver, or porcelain. 

The difference between a filling and crown is dependant on the severity of the issue and, once it is too large to be filled, a crown will then be recommended to cover and protect the remaining tooth from further damage. 

Crowns may also be used to support weak teeth, broken teeth, or support fillings. Being a prosthetic tooth that covers your existing tooth, crowns can also cover fillings that have been done. 

Repairing Cracks

Accounting for the majority of dental injuries, cracked teeth can happen quite often, and without warning. Warranting an unplanned visit to a cosmetic dental office for the first time. 

Whether it’s your molar that’s been cracked, which can usually be fixed by the filling procedure, or maybe you’ve cracked your front tooth. The front teeth being cracked can be repaired by a procedure called bonding.

Bonding uses a tooth-colored resin to repair the cracked or broken tooth and restores your smile almost immediately. Don’t suffer from painful cracked teeth when the end result of bonding can leave your teeth happy and healthy.

Correcting Overcrowding

From retainers to braces and rubber bands, overcrowded teeth are something that can be fixed over time. All of which require you to not only visit a dentist’s office for the first time but then an orthodontist as well.

With braces being the most effective permanent solution. Overcrowded teeth can be painful and create impacted teeth that cause future problems. If you’re having any sort of pressure or aching, make sure you don’t put off an appointment to create a solution for your overcrowding teeth. They may be under the surface where you can’t see the underlying issue. 

The x-ray will help to show if there are any such issues and what steps need to be taken to create a long term solution to the problem. Braces may be needed long term, or maybe just a retainer to correct smaller issues like teeth slightly being crooked. The orthodontic specialists will help you achieve any long term goals you may need or have for your teeth’s placement. 

Dr. Laviola offers traditional braces, as well as Invisalign clear aligners. For adults, and kids alike – there is something for everyone at Dental Masters of Alexandria.

Teeth Whitening

When it comes to whitening your teeth, the best person to go to would be inside your dental office, even if it’s not your first time. 

Professional teeth whitening delivers optimum results in a short amount of time. At-home kits will most likely not accumulate the same results as a professional dentist and professional-grade equipment. 

Not only should you take care of your teeth, take care of your smile too. The yellowing color can most likely be removed, but if there is darker discoloration, it may be a more invasive solution. Black and brown discoloration is something whitening alone cannot fix, but there are other dental solutions.

Extractions

Tooth extraction, or more commonly known as pulling teeth. Not anyone’s favorite, but sometimes your first dental visit may lead to a big underlying problem and extracting some teeth. 

Usually performed by one of four reasons: tooth decay, tooth damage, dental abscess, or misalignment/crowding. Performed by your dentist, or an oral surgeon, tooth extractions are generally an in and out procedure and with today’s local anesthetic you will only feel some pressure and no pain. It’s a very common procedure to have done and doesn’t require hardly any downtime. 

Tooth Replacement or Implants 

Teeth replacement/implants are a good alternative to dentures if you’re unable, or unwilling to wear dentures. If you only have one or more missing teeth, have things such as healthy oral tissue and a fully grown jaw (not recommended under age of 18.) 

The best way to figure out if dental implants are a procedure you need to have done is to come into the dental office and schedule a tooth replacement consultation with your oral surgeon. If you’re still young, under the age of 18, they will most likely not be recommended. As your jaw is not fully developed by that time and is still inclined to future movement.

Full/Partial Dentures

Dentures are a removable replacement for teeth and surrounding tissues. With two types available, full and partial. They can be attached with a paste or powder adhesive and removed as needed, mostly at night. 

Full dentures are only needed when all teeth are gone or need to be removed. They’re a more expensive, but good alternative to a normal healthy smile when your natural teeth are no longer capable of existing. With today’s dental technology, dentures can be made to look very natural and fit comfortably to your natural bridge line. 

Partial dentures are used when natural teeth are still remaining. Dentures are a long term solution to major bridge and tissue problems that have caused teeth loss and sometimes teeth need to be extracted to fit the full dentures. Partial dentures can be used when natural teeth don’t have damage or need to be extracted. 

Porcelain Bridges 

A porcelain bridge is a good alternative to implants or dentures if you just want one, or a couple of teeth to be replaced that are no longer viable. The porcelain can be sculpted to replicate the look of natural tooth enamel and creates a strong base for your bridge to rely on. They’re constructed in the dental lab and fit to your mouth prior. Also removable, they are a great alternative for teeth loss of a smaller amount and prevent you from having to fully replace your natural teeth. 

Oral Cancer Screenings

Most people are surprised at the large amount of surface area that lines the mouth. While it repairs itself quickly, it’s susceptible to changes that may require monitoring and further evaluation. 

Tobacco users have a significantly higher risk of oral cancer, but oral cancer can affect anyone. Chewing tobacco contains up to 3000 different chemicals that can cause cellular changes below the surface and aren’t always detectable until they’ve advanced to a critical stage. With oral cancer screenings, you can get early detection and treatment that increases the chances of positive outcomes with a diagnosis.

If we suspect any unusual changes in your mouth tissue, we may suggest biopsy or microscopic analysis by a qualified lab. Many other non-cancerous changes can occur in your mouth tissue, from oral warts to autoimmune lesions. Dr. LaViola drew on his background in oral pathology to determine if any abnormalities should be removed or just simply monitored. 

Many other non-cancerous changes can occur in your mouth’s tissue, from oral warts to autoimmune lesions. Dr. LaViola drew on his background in oral pathology to determine if any abnormalities should be removed or just simply monitored. 

4). Insurance and Payment

Before your first visit to the Dental Masters of Alexandria, it’s a good idea to call ahead of time and make sure they take your insurance provider. 

While getting cosmetic dentistry done, not many providers cover those types of procedures. This can lead to out of pocket payment and most providers will allow a payment plan to be started. General check-ups and cleaning should be covered by insurance, so make sure you find a list of providers covered under your insurance. Most dental offices will take insurance over the phone and have it all set up on your patient profile before your visit. Making the office portion of your visit quick and easy for both sides.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, your first trip to a new dental office should be nothing short of a positive experience that leaves you feeling better about your oral health. Whether it’s a routine cleaning, minor procedures, more invasive procedures, preventative screenings, cosmetic procedures or oral surgeries, Dental Masters of Alexandria has got you covered. 

It’s about way more than fixing your teeth because our smiles matter more than we may realize. Volumes of research confirm the influential role of smiles on our relationships and our self-esteem. If you’re confident, you smile more. If you smile more, you feel more confident!

Hopefully, after reading this you’re a little less nervous about your first visit to a new dental office. We’d love the chance to show you how we provide quality care to all of our patients. Contact us to schedule an appointment today or let us know if you have any additional questions.