Your First Appointment with a New Dentist
Your first appointment with a new dentist should be a comprehensive oral exam. This is an in-depth exam that enables the dentist to develop a treatment plan for you. This is a good time to evaluate a dentist’s “chair side manner” and make sure that this dentist is right for you.
Take note of the equipment used in the office. Dentists who use older equipment and techniques can provide excellent care, but the latest technology, can make checkups faster, less painful, and more thorough.
The dentist should provide you with intake forms that record your medical and dental history. This may include information about your previous dental work, any medical conditions or illnesses you have (or had), medicines you take and allergies you have.
Be sure to tell them you have diabetes, how long you’ve had it, how you control it, your current A1C level, as well as problems (dental or physical) you’ve had recently. Your dental team should follow up on these issues every visit.
Your dentist should have your physician’s name and phone number so they can contact your physician with any concerns or questions about your treatment.
The dentist will then give you a complete oral exam, checking the interior of your mouth, testing your salivary glands, your tongue and examining each tooth for cavities, periodontal disease and mobility. They should also give you a complete cleaning and a few, or a full, set of x-rays (you can save yourself a bit of money if you bring x-rays, two years old or less, to your appointment).
The dentist may immediately see a few things which should be taken care of in a priority manner. Either way, the dentist will develop a treatment plan for you and spend some time explaining the plan, how long it will take and how much it will cost.
Even if the treatment plan is extensive, slacking off on your dental care is a sure fire way to lose teeth. Don’t make that mistake. Most dentists are willing to work with you on some sort of payment plan (with or without insurance) to help insure your dental health.
If, however, after your initial visit you don’t like your dentist, the office or anything else, then seek another candidate. Going to the dentist is hard enough for most people. Going somewhere you don’t like the people or the environment makes it even more difficult.
Another option, for those who truly can’t afford dental care, is to pursue treatment at a local dental school. Dental schools are always seeking real life patients, though the process can be a bit cumbersome and more time consuming than a trip to the regular dentist. Many of the procedures are one-third to one-half the cost of a regular dentist. All of the procedures are overseen by professors who also have regular dental practices.