We have two responsibilities to you. The first is to make sure a problem never goes unnoticed. The second is to make sure we never recommend treatment you don’t really need.
It’s easy to understand why people who are suffering from a toothache appreciate a dentist who is good at finding the problem. But when nothing really hurts, a thorough dental examination can seem a lot like looking for trouble. To some people, that doubt raises concerns that the dentist will find something that wasn’t really a problem. For that reason, we want to be very clear with you from the start:
Let’s talk honestly about diagnosis.
We know how important it is to be able to trust your dentist not to make mountains out of molehills by subjecting you to unnecessary, expensive procedures based on hard-to-understand new technology.
Having said that, there are truly some things you can’t see or feel, and you need to know about them. Early detection often results in more successful results with less treatment.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether to have dental treatment, and what that treatment will be. Our job is to make that choice easier for you. To give you the best possible advice about making choices that will affect your dental health.
We follow a 3-step plan:
Step 1: We listen to you.
We listen to your concerns. Some people want perfect teeth or a new smile, and others don’t. Knowing how to plan for your care as a patient begins by learning about your needs as a person. We never pressure you to accept more treatment than you want.
We ask you about your medical and dental history, including allergies and drugs you take or have taken. This information helps us to safeguard your health while you are in our office.
Step 2: We thoroughly examine:
Our digital x-rays reduce radiation by up to 70%, and provide a clear, detailed look at your teeth and the bone structure that supports them. X-rays allow us to find decay, tooth fractures, infections, and many forms of cancer.
Whenever possible, we also use technologies that don’t require any radiation. Our computerized camera system allows us to photograph the hard-to-see parts of your mouth. Transillumination passes light through your teeth in a way that reveals early cavities.
Your gums and soft tissues
One of the most important parts of your dental examination is the evaluation of the soft tissues in your mouth, including your gums. We conduct a thorough examination for signs of periodontitis—a form of gum disease that is often referred to as the silent disease, since it is almost never painful.
In fact, most people (an estimated three out of four adults) have some form of periodontitis, yet remain unaware of it. Not only is periodontitis one of the main causes of tooth loss, it impacts serious diseases such as heart attack, stroke and diabetes, to name a few.
We also evaluate the impact of your bite on your comfort and ability to chew with your natural teeth. If you are having difficulty chewing, we will determine if it is the result of your bite.
Your jaw joint
Sometimes, a dysfunctional bite can lead to a painful jaw joint or muscles, just as a poorly fitting pair of shoes can result in a tender knee or painful ankle. If you are living with the pain of an injury caused by your own bite, we will uncover the cause.
Dentures and partial dentures
Even the best set of dentures begins to wear the moment it’s used for the first time. If you wear dental appliances, such as dentures or partial dentures, we evaluate them for fit and wear. Removable dentistry is quickly becoming a lost art, which is unfortunate considering the chewing comfort and confidence in one’s appearance that is possible with careful maintenance.
Step 3: We help you to understand your dental health.
We display your x-rays on a flat screen monitor right at the chair. If we took a photo of your tooth, we show you that, too.
We explain your dental health using terms you can understand. We help you to understand what we found, whether you should be concerned and whether you need treatment.
We explain all of your options for treatment, including what would happen if you do nothing, and how long you might be able to delay treatment. We can also discuss how you might delay certain treatments without compromising the quality of your dental care.
We always help you to understand the cost of the options you have in advance of treatment. We answer your questions, and never ask you to decide before you feel comfortable with your choice.
Our technology can be an important tool for protecting you and your dental health—but it will never be a substitute for experience, thoroughness or caring. First and always, we are here to make dental care feel safe and comfortable.