Your first visit to the office will sometimes be the longest of all the appointments you experience there.
You will be asked to fill out forms regarding your personal information, health history, dental insurance, past dental experiences and possibly your likes and dislikes regarding dental treatment.
Yes! You do need to fill them out accurately. Yes, it is a nuisance and yes it is your personal information. We won't be able to treat you responsibly and safely if we don't know all about you. You will need your dental insurance information, your list of medications, and a list of prior surgeries.
We are not allowed to share your information with ANYONE and you will probably be asked to sign a form acknowledging that we have told you that.
There are laws that govern your dental office through your states board of dental examiners and they will have rules about how often you must see your dentist to remain a patient of record. If you are not a patient of record than you cannot see the dentist or hygienist so you will want to keep that status up to date. I can't vouch for anyone but Nevada, and here you must see the dentist at least every 18 months. Also, you must see the dentist on your very first visit to the office so that you may become a patient of record.
We will need xrays (radiographs) of your teeth in order to check for cavities in between the teeth, where the supporting bone levels around the teeth are, and if any of your teeth have abcesses around the tips of the roots. Your insurance will cover these films at different intervals in different amounts. It would be wise to have the front office staff check with your insurance before your visit to see if you are eligible to receive these films. If you have films at another office, it is wise to have copies sent to the new office and you may not need new full mouth xrays. However, if you haven't had a checkup in over a year, you most certainly will need to have xrays of your back teeth to check for decay.
You can then expect a thorough examination of your teeth and the dentist and hygienist will determine what kind of teeth cleaning you will need. The dentist will decide what restorative dental work you will need at that time.
The front office will then go over the treatment plan and let you know what your financial responsibilites will be and how many times you will need to return to the office.
You may not see the hygienist on your first visit. It is important to ask what will be done at the first appointment to avoid confusion. Also, keep in mind that you may have to return to the office more than once to have your teeth cleaned and have dental work done. Remember! Rome wasn't built in a day!