General Dental Care

Your dental health is an important part of maintaining your overall health, and it all starts with good dental hygiene. We’re happy to partner with you to give you the healthiest, brightest smile possible!

New Patient Exams

We welcome every new patient with a comprehensive exam and evaluation of dental health.

Procedure Length

1 Hour

What You’ll Need

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What to expect

Your doctor will review your health history, perform a visual exam and use the latest x-ray and photographic technology to evaluate your current dental health. Based on their findings, your doctor will work with you to develop a hygiene routine that is customized to your needs. If you require any restorative work, your doctor will review your recommended treatment and answer any questions you may have.

Before the end of your visit we will schedule your next appointment and provide you with a cost estimate for any upcoming visits based on your dental insurance coverage.

Annual Exams

Annual dental exams are important not only for good dental health, but also good overall health. The annual exam is a great time to ask your doctor any questions you may have about your dental health.

Procedure Length

15 -30 minutes every year
Usually coordinated with a cleaning or periodontal maintenance visit

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What to expect

At the beginning of an annual exam your doctor will want to review any changes in your health since your last visit. It is helpful if you come prepared to this discussion with a list of changes and any new medications you might be taking.

During the annual exam your doctor will perform complete a visual examination of your teeth, gums, and jaws, and will take a set of x-rays (called bitewings). Your doctor will review your x-rays to look for any changes or potential problems. They will take time to explain their observations and any restorative treatment that may be needed.

Before you leave you’ll have the opportunity to schedule your next appointment.

Cleanings ("Prophy")

In addition to keeping good dental habits at home, it is recommended that you have a professional dental cleaning at least twice a year.

Procedure Length

30-45 minutes (every 6 months)

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What to expect

In addition to keeping good dental habits at home, it is recommended that you have a professional dental cleaning at least twice a year.

During the cleaning, your hygienist will examine your teeth and mouth, evaluate your bite, and discuss with you any changes that have taken place since your last visit. Your hygienist will then remove plaque, tartar, and stains from your teeth, then polish them. Crowns, bridges, or dentures will also be cleaned during your visit. If recommended by your dentist or hygienist, fluoride may be applied, as well.

After the cleaning is complete, you and your hygienist will help you develop an “at home” self-care plan. You will be provided with a toothbrush, floss, and toothpaste to get you started. Before leaving, you can schedule your next cleaning to make sure you stay on track with your oral hygiene.

Children Under Age 14

As soon as your child’s teeth begin to show, it’s time for a dental visit!

Procedure Length

15-45 minutes (twice per year)

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WHEN SHOULD MY CHILD SEE A DENTIST?

Starting good oral hygiene habits at a young age dramatically increases the likelihood of healthy teeth later in life. The sooner you begin dental visits with your child the more likely they will become more and more comfortable with dental exams and cleanings as they grow. We adjust the scope of each visit to the needs of your child and their current stage of development.

WHAT TO EXPECT

For children under age 3, our goal is to create comfort with dental visits and promote healthy dental habits. Your dentist will talk with you and your child about proper brushing techniques, and if your child is comfortable, will gently clean your child’s teeth and perform an exam.

For children age 3 and older, the dental visit will include a gentle but thorough exam to assess the teeth, jaw, bite, gums and oral tissue. Your dentist will also clean the teeth to remove any plaque, tartar buildup, or stains, and may recommend a fluoride treatment.

For children age 4 and older X-rays are generally taken once per year to evaluate changes as your child grows and the adult teeth begin to come in. In some cases, your dentist may recommend a consultation with an orthodontist to evaluate and correct any issues with spacing, alignment, or bite. If your child has braces or another orthodontic device, it is important that they have a cleaning and exam every six months and practice good dental hygiene habits at home to keep their teeth and gums healthy.

Each visit will also include a demonstration and review of the steps for good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing. Before you leave we will schedule your next visit to help keep your child on track with their oral care.

Full Mouth Debridement

When a significant buildup of plaque and/or tartar is present, you may need to have a thorough cleaning in order for the dentist to do a comprehensive evaluation of your oral health. This type of cleaning is called a full mouth debridement.

Procedure Length

60-90 minutes

WHAT TO EXPECT

Your dentist or hygienist will remove the buildup of plaque and tartar with dental instruments, and may use a numbing rinse to ensure you are comfortable during the procedure. Some patients report experiencing soreness following this procedure.

Post-Procedure Care

Following a full mouth debridement, it is very important to keep up with your home dental care regimen of brushing and flossing and to follow your dentist’s recommendations for professional dental cleanings. Doing so will help prevent the buildup from recurring, and will help you improve your overall oral health.

Root Planing & Scaling

For patients with periodontal (gum) disease, scaling and root planing may be part of the recommended treatment.

Procedure Length

1.5 – 4 hours
(often over two visits)

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WHAT IT IS

For patients with periodontal (gum) disease, scaling and root planing may be part of the recommended treatment. Scaling and root planing is a careful cleaning of the root surfaces to remove plaque and calculus (also called tartar) around the tooth and to smooth the tooth root to remove bacterial toxins.

Photo: diagram of periodontal disease relative to a healthy tooth.

What to expect

Generally root planing and scaling procedures occur over two visits: one visit for the left side of your mouth, another visit for the right side of your mouth.

For your comfort the area will be numbed first with a topical solution and then with an anesthetic. Once the area is numb, the hygienist will use dental instruments to remove the buildup of plaque, tartar, and infected soft tissue. The tooth roots will be smoothed, which helps prevent further buildup from occurring. Some patients report experiencing soreness following this procedure.

Post-procedure care

After scaling and root planing, the doctor may recommend the use of an antimicrobal rinse to help improve your oral health.

Many patients can maintain their dental health through periodontal cleanings scheduled at specific intervals, usually every 3-4 months. However, in more severe cases, additional periodontal care may be necessary either with your dentist or with a Periodontal Specialist.

Periodontal Maintenance

For patients with periodontal (gum) disease, scaling and root planing may be part of the recommended treatment.

Procedure Length

45-60 minutes
(every 3-4 months)

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What it is & when it’s necessary

If you’ve been diagnosed with periodontal (gum) disease, or if you’ve had a scaling and root planning treatment, your dentist may recommend scheduling “Periodontal Maintenance Visits,” which focus on thoroughly cleaning the teeth as well as the pockets in the gums surrounding the teeth.

What to expect

During your periodontal maintenance visit, your hygienist or dentist will use dental instruments to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth above and below the gum line, perform any necessary scaling and root planning, and polish the teeth.

Your dentist or hygienist will evaluate the effectiveness of your home-care and go over suggestions for improvement, if necessary.

Photo: stages of periodontal disease.

Post-procedure care

If you’ve been diagnosed with periodontal (gum) disease, it is important to keep up with your dental cleanings as prescribed by your dentist.

If new or recurring periodontal disease appears, your dentist will talk with you about additional treatment options. For many patients who keep up with their home care and professional cleanings, eventually the time needed between periodontal maintenance visits can be increased.