Your First Visit
Unless you are seeing us for an emergency, most people come to Downtown Dental for their initial appointment to establish care with a routine examination and cleaning.
The first order of business is generally paperwork. You can save time in our office by downloading the New Patient Information Packet and Notice of Patient Privacy on our website ahead of time, filling them out at your convenience, and bringing them along to your first appointment.
Other items for you to bring along include:
- Dental x-rays from your previous dentist, if they are available. You can usually call the office and ask that copies be sent to Downtown Dental ahead of your appointment, or you can pick them up and bring them with you.
- A list of any medications or supplements you are taking. Be sure to note the dosages. If you have any medical conditions, be sure to inform us of that at your first appointment.
- If you have dental insurance, be sure to bring along a copy of your identification card.
Your first examination with us will be thorough, especially if it’s been a while since your last dental appointment. Most of the items listed here are likely to be covered under your dental insurance plan, but plans do vary so we will check your coverage before we proceed.
- A head and neck examination to look for signs of oral cancer or issues with the temporomandibular joint.
- A dental examination that includes a look at your gums to detect signs of gum disease. We’ll also check mucous membranes and saliva, how your upper and lower teeth meet (bite assessment), and whether there are any signs of decay, broken fillings, or other issues with your teeth or restorations.
- A full set of dental x-rays, which are usually repeated once a year.
- A dental cleaning that includes the removal of plaque, polishing the teeth, and flossing. We will assess how well you have been taking care of your teeth and answer any questions you might have about brushing and flossing techniques.
After your examination, Dr. Richard Rathke will go over your x-rays, let you know of his findings, and talk to you about recommended treatments, if necessary. If you have any questions about your oral health, this is an excellent time to mention them. Dr. Rathke will take as much time as you need!
If you get a clean bill of dental health, you can make an appointment before you leave for another cleaning and examination in six months. Twice-yearly checkups are vital to taking good care of your oral health.