Becoming a patient is easy! The following information should be helpful.
Scheduling your First Visit:
We make every effort to schedule visits for new patients within a few days of your call. If you are flexible with the day and time you can come, we can schedule you for a prompt visit. On your first visit, we recommend arriving 15 minutes early so that you have plenty of time to complete some necessary paperwork.
Financial Policies and Dental Insurance
Comprehensive Examination Appointment for New Patients:
For new patients, we typically prefer to schedule the first appointment to include a comprehensive examination, radiographs (x-rays), and a cleaning before initiating other treatment. This allows us to thoroughly evaluate your oral condition and answer questions you may have about various treatment alternatives. There are several components to this examination: (1) We evaluate your radiographs and check each of your teeth for cavities or other problems. (2) We perform a periodontal evaluation to check the health of your gums and the bone supporting your teeth. (3) We perform an oral cancer screening and check your TMJ (the joint that allows your jaw to open and close).
New Patients with Dental Emergencies:
If you are a new patient with a dental emergency*, we will make every effort to schedule a very prompt appointment. If you contact us when we first open, we can usually see you the same day. At your appointment, we will need to take one or more radiographs to evaluate your emergency condition. In most cases we will be able to treat you for your condition during this appointment. However, there are some cases in which a referral to a specialist may be necessary (e.g. if you require a complicated tooth extraction or a complicated root canal.) Once your emergency condition is resolved, we would like to have you return for a comprehensive examination before initiating any further treatment.
*A dental emergency is a generally a situation in which you are experiencing severe pain or swelling.
When you call to schedule your initial visit, you will be asked for the following information:
- The reason for your appointment (e.g. regular examination vs. emergency treatment)
- The approximate date that you last saw a dentist and last had x-rays taken
- If you have dental insurance, we will need to know the name of your plan and your group number
- We would like to know if you have any medical conditions that need to be considered in planning your treatment. Specifically, we would like to know whether you have a heart murmur or mitral valve prolapse, whether you are allergic to any medications or latex, and whether you have other medical conditions that we should consider. Please also let us know if you have had an artificial joint or heart valve placed, as you may need to take antibiotics prior to coming for your dental appointment. (The doctor will review your medical history with you at your appointment, but it is helpful for us to have some of this information ahead of time.)
You should bring the following items with you on your first visit:
- If you have dental insurance, please bring your dental insurance card.
- Please bring a list of any medications you are taking
- If you have had radiographs taken recently at another dentist, it is very helpful for us to have them. We would be happy to request them for you from your previous office. Alternatively, you may pick them up personally at your previous dental office to ensure that we have them in time for your appointment.
What radiographs will we need?
In order to perform a proper examination, we will need to take a set of x-rays appropriate for your age and dental condition. For adult new patients, this frequently includes a full set of bitewings and periapical x-rays to show the roots of each tooth. For teen-age and young adult new patients, bitewings and a panoramic x-ray are frequently appropriate. For children, bitewings are generally appropriate, but additional radiographs are sometimes necessary.
If you have had a full set of radiographs taken at another dentist within the last 3 years, we may not need to retake every one of these x-rays. However, we will need to have access to these radiographs at the time of your appointment in order to perform a proper examination. We would be happy to contact your previous dental office to request the radiographs if enough notice is given in order to have them in time for your appointment. Alternatively, you may pick them up personally at your previous dental office and bring them with you (this is frequently the fastest and most efficient way to obtain your x-rays).