Entering the Dental Practice as a New Patient

Over the years, we have seen a number of patients enter our dental practice – from those seeking an overall smile makeover to those in need of more basic dental procedures. However, despite the breadth of needs that we have addressed, there is one thing in common with all of our patients – they have all come to us to meet a unique dental need.

Addressing these needs is the basis of any dental practice and determining the best course of action can begin as soon as the screening or scheduling call.

While on the surface, scheduling a visit with a cosmetic or general dentist is a fairly straightforward process this time is extremely important to our staff. In fact, it is during this time that we determine the length of the appointment and the scope of care needed.

Doing so requires that a number of questions be asked during this initial phone conversation, such as:

How long has it been since your last dental appointment? 

If the answer is more than two years, we recommend a new patient exam, which will give you more time with the doctor and a more comprehensive patient experience.

What is the extent of your previous dental work?

If your previous dental work is minimal – meaning one to two crowns at most – odds are that you will only require a checkup. However, if you have multiple crowns and/or fillings or have ever had a root canal, a full exam will better meet your needs.

Are you experiencing any pain?

If you can identify a tooth that is bothering you, or perhaps several teeth that are achy and symptomatic from time to time, setting aside more time with the dentist to diagnose the problem will be necessary.

Do you have a bite problem?

This includes pain in front of the ear, pain when chewing hard foods and clicking or popping in the jaw. Because these tend to be more complex issues, a more complex exam will be required to determine the cause and effect relationship.

For potential patients, answering these questions honestly will ensure that their visit is as fruitful as possible – benefiting both the patient and the doctor who will ultimately diagnose the problem.

The reality is, for those patients who come in for a cleaning and later divulge a larger issue, the time and resources to properly diagnose and treat the problem have not been set aside. As a result, the patient may need to schedule an additional appointment where only one may have been needed.

Our interest in your dental needs and history is critical to determining the best course of action for your care. However, we understand that you may have a number of questions of your own. A telephone consultation is the perfect time to ask any questions you may have and determine if the course of action you have in mind is the best for your dental case.

For more information on entering the dental practice as a new patient, call us at 813-689-4226 to schedule an examination today.

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