New Patient Visit
We consider your first visit to our office as the beginning of a beautiful relationship! During that visit, you can expect to be in our office about 90 minutes. We want to get a complete picture of your dental and overall health and we will be reviewing a variety of questions as we assess your oral health. We will be taking intraoral images with a camera, as well as a full set of radiographic images; evaluating your periodontal (gum) health, and examining your entire mouth for existing restorations that may be failing or for evidence of disease or the presence of infection. We will screen you for oral cancer, and, will evaluate your TMJ, and any other esthetic or cosmetic concerns you may have. Additionally, we will discuss any concerns we may have about how your teeth bite together, along with any issues regarding teeth grinding, clenching, or other bite abnormalities.
Based on the above evaluations, the hygienist will then perform hygiene treatments and will review oral hygiene techniques with you while suggesting any improvements or supplements you should add to your current home care routine. (*Please see the exception below for patients who have been diagnosed with active gum infection.)
At the end of the visit, if restorative treatment is recommended, you will receive a personal consultation with our patient care coordinator to discuss your treatment options. There are several opportunities built into this first visit to allow time for discussion and for questions you may need addressed. We reserve adequate time so that when you leave our office, you have a good understanding of your oral health and of the recommended follow up treatment(s) and alternatives to treatment.
*For patients with active periodontal disease/ infection: If it is determined that active periodontal gum disease is present, it may also be determined that a higher level of periodontal care is needed to restore your gums to their optimal health. Most people are not aware that they have gum disease, but studies have shown that periodontal disease is the most common chronic infection in the country. In its early stages, gum disease is painless. It begins as gingivitis-characterized by gums that bleed while brushing/flossing. Healthy gums don’t bleed, in fact, Dr. Bradley refers to gums that bleed easily as “angry gums”. The gums are angry that there is bacteria in areas where they shouldn’t be – bacteria that is wreaking havoc and causing mass destruction of both the gum tissue and the bone that holds your teeth in your mouth. We have to get to the cause of why your gums are bleeding and to, decrease the inflammation in those areas by removing the bad bacteria thereby allowing your gums’ health to be restored.
Making diseased gums healthy again
It depends on how severe the gum disease is. There are different levels – slight, moderate, and severe – and each of them has different approaches to obtaining healing and resolution. If a deep, more extensive cleaning is warranted, we will discuss this with you, along with your treatment options moving forward. Because this type of care is much more time-intensive, and because local anesthesia is involved to help keep you comfortable, we will make plans to proceed with periodontal therapy and will schedule it accordingly. In this scenario, a standard every six month cleaning cannot be performed at the first visit. Those types of standard cleanings are only for patients who have healthy periodontium (gum and bone) and for those who do not show signs of active gum infection. Because a higher level of care is required for periodontal patients, and because your periodontal health can also affect your overall health, it is important to make the distinction between standard versus non-standard cleaning. Addressing the gum and supporting bone health as a priority creates a healthy foundation to correcting any remaining issues in your mouth and will help you keep your teeth for many years to come.
Referrals to a Periodontist (A dentist who specializes in gum treatments)
Sometimes, in severely diseased periodontal tissues, the gums still don’t heal in certain areas even after a deep cleaning. When severe bone loss has occurred and when inflammation does not improve, we will often enlist the help of a periodontist – a dentist specializing in gum therapy and surgery to help restore gums to their optimal health. If this referral is deemed necessary, Dr. Bradley will specifically discuss your options for treatment, addressing any questions you may have.
Very pleased to say that I was very nervous to try a new dentist after using the same one for 20 Years…but it was a great experience…I had never had a crown and was very nervous.. Dr. Bradley got me some ear phones for my phone, found Pandora and went to work…it went smooth and stress free…I had gone to a different dentist and had a bad gut feeling…got a second opinion from Dr. B and I’m so glad I followed my gut!!
– Monica Hopkins Key