You will find that I emphasize a prevention-oriented oral medicine approach to care. Your initial examination includes a review of your medical history, a clinical examination for head and neck cancer or oral pathology, a periodontal (gum disease) evaluation and clinical charting of teeth, restorations (fillings) and problems such as decay or periodontal disease. After this examination, we will determine what x-rays are indicated for your care. A treatment plan will then be formulated and discussed with you.
Many patients come to the office for emergency relief of pain or another dental problem, such as a lost filling, a loose crown, a suspicious lesion in their mouth, etc. We still need a complete medical and dental history and an oral exam to see the extent of the problem. Usually, we will take a digital x-ray to see more of the tooth below the gum line and help find the source of the dental problem. We then let the patient know our findings and recommendations. Most often, the treatment of the problem can be done in our office. If the situation warrants it, we will recommend and assist in getting a referral for a specialist's evaluation.
Periodic Preventive Recall Examinations
We are a preventive dentistry practice and will recommend a personalized schedule of when to see you for a regular exam. Usually, this is every six months, but it may be every 3 or 4 months if your periodontal and oral hygiene status warrant more frequent follow-up. We also tailor the frequency of x-rays to person. For patients with a history of very few or no decay and fillings between the teeth, we would only consider taking the Bite-Wing x-ray to detect decay and bone levels every 12 or 18 months. Patient with new or recurrent decay at their last visit may need repeat bitewings at the 4 or 6-month interval to make sure they don't have any active decay. The Panoramic x-ray is usually taken as a baseline to evaluate any wisdom or other impacted teeth, sinus problems, bone pathology, etc. and are not repeated for 3 to 5 years unless some clinical situation warrants a repeat Panoramic x-ray to look for changes from prior panoramic radiographs.