Initial Visits

First Visits For Children And Young Adults

We welcome new dental patients of all ages beginning at age three. Children and young adults (up to age 24) who are not experiencing problems will see one of our hygienists at their first dental visit, who will take X-rays and perform a routine cleaning. If there are specific concerns, we may schedule the first visit with the doctor to address that problem, then arrange more routine care at a later date.

For children younger than seven, if there are needs that require anesthesia or tooth repair, we generally refer to one of several pediatric specialists in the area.

First Visits For Adults

We are dedicated to helping you attain the best oral health possible for your lifetime, not just the next six months. To that end, we schedule new adult patients for a complete, thorough examination with the doctor. Our goal is to have a plan, both short-term and longer, so there are no surprises down the road. The results of a complete examination give you the opportunity to select a plan both financially and time-wise that gets you where you want to be. That simply can't be done with a quick, five minute checkup. In fact, plan to spend about 90 minutes or so for this dental visit.

When you arrive, there is of course some information to be gathered. You will be given the privacy and quiet of our consultation room to fill out a form regarding your contact, insurance (if any), and medical history information. You will then meet one of our assistants, who will obtain your primary reasons for being here, what you would like to accomplish, and your dental history. After being escorted to an examination room, the assistant will take a few minutes to update Dr. Ogden with your information, and you will then be introduced to Dr. Ogden. After taking a few minutes to get acquainted, we will begin gathering more information about your needs and wants.

The first part of the examination process is looking at the soft tissues that line the inside of your mouth, including cheeks, lips, throat, top and bottom of the tongue, and the floor of the mouth. This is commonly referred to as a cancer screening exam. It could save your life.

Second, we will look at the supporting structures of your teeth, or the health of your gums. We will see if any teeth are loose, and to what degree. We will gently measure the depth of the space between the gumline and your teeth. (Smaller depths are better than larger depths.) This is an extremely important part of the examination. It will tell us what type and how many x-rays are required to be sure we don't overlook anything of significance. It also tells us whether your long-term health can be best served with a routine cleaning with our hygienist, or whether there are areas that need additional time and attention to be thorough. In some cases, you may be referred to a specialist who treats gum disease exclusively (a periodontist). Remember, gum disease doesn't give you many advance warning signs and is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.

Third, we will look at your jaw joints and your jaw's range of motion. We will also look at how your teeth meet together when you close.

Fourth (and you probably thought we would get to this), we will take a thorough look at each individual tooth. We will use both a 3X microscope which the doctor always wears, and an intraoral camera which can magnify up to 80X. We will take as many intraoral pictures as necessary to help you see any present or future problem areas. It is easier to make decisions when you can actually see what's going on the same way we see it.

We will then take the necessary x-rays based on the information collected. This may consist of a panoramic film which shows your entire jaws and the roots of your teeth, along with detailed images between your back teeth (called "bitewings"). Alternatively, we may choose to take a complete series of 18 detailed films of all of your teeth and their supporting structures. Again, this decision is made primarily based on the health of your gums. Updates of the x-rays between your back teeth are typically made once yearly, and a complete series or panoramic film every seven years.

If you have a bite-related problem, we may make impressions to produce casts (replicas) of your teeth and their arrangement. If you have cosmetic concerns, we will most likely do both casts and digital photographs of your face and smile.

In many cases, after x-rays are developed and examined, we can discuss a treatment plan that suits you. We can often schedule your cleaning and some actual treatment (if needed) at the next visit, so you don't feel you have "wasted" a visit without getting your teeth cleaned. If your treatment plan and your desires are more complex, or if we have taken impressions or photographs of your teeth, a second consultation visit will be necessary to finalize a plan. We may also be able to schedule your first cleaning on the same day.

The path to a lifetime of health or a change in your smile is paved with a complete examination and a well-planned road map of the procedures necessary to attain it. We will take as much time as necessary for you to understand your needs and for us to understand your desires. We want and need to be on the same road, so to speak. Dental treatment itself is usually straightforward and simple, as long as we know where we're going.

Because we prioritize potential emergencies in our treatment plans, very few of our patients ever experience weekend or after-hours problems.