New Dental Patient Information
How do I become a new patient?
1. Call for an appointment: 512.292.8002.
2. Prior to your appointment, please fill out the new dental patient forms by clicking on the New Patient Forms link below the phone number in the top right corner of the page. To allow our team adequate time to prepare for your appointment, we request that you complete the forms no later than two business days prior to your reserved appointment time.
3. Establish a patient login to view your personalized treatment plan and other account information.
What can I expect as a new patient?
On your first visit you will meet with Dr. Deidra or Dr. James, and we will discuss any concerns you have about your teeth or smile. We will thoroughly examine your teeth and gums, take any necessary x-rays and perform several exams including an oral cancer screening. Based on the findings, we will schedule your next visit.
We work with you to develop and discuss all aspects of a personalized treatment plan. This way, you have an overview of your treatment and understand the dentist’s recommendations. Our conservative approach to dental care focuses first and foremost on prevention, empowering patients to play an active role in maintaining the health of their teeth and gums.
Most new patient evaluation visits will take approximately one hour. This appointment is very comprehensive and includes a full oral evaluation, a comprehensive set of x-rays, and a full evaluation of the health of your gums and other connective tissues. We discuss any recommended treatment and discuss any questions or concerns you may have regarding treatment or diagnosis.
Why would I need a periodontal maintenance cleaning?
There is a distinct difference between a “regular” dental cleaning (prophylaxis) and a periodontal maintenance cleaning. A prophylaxis is recommended for patients with healthy oral tissues. The typical prophylaxis patient has regular six-month dental visits, exhibits excellent home care, and has healthy gingival tissues. A periodontal maintenance procedure is recommended for any patient with periodontal disease who has completed periodontal therapy (usually a “deep cleaning,” or scaling and root planing) as maintenance for the completed therapy. This procedure involves instrumentation of the crown and root surfaces of the teeth to remove deposits and is therapeutic, not prophylactic, in nature. Periodontal disease may not be cured but the destructive symptoms can be controlled with regular dental check-ups and periodontal maintenance procedures.
Do I need dental x-rays? Are they safe?
There are several types of dental x-rays, each serving a different purpose. Panoramic x-rays show the jaw and teeth in their entirety and are helpful in diagnosing malformations and are also useful in planning for dentures, partials, braces, or extractions. Bitewing x-rays show the upper and lower back teeth and the areas in-between the teeth. These x-rays are used to check for decay between the teeth and also show bone loss when gum disease is present. A third type of x-ray, a periapical, gives a close-up view of one or more teeth in their entirety and may be used to diagnose various dental maladies like a tooth or root fracture or an infection.
Some patients may be concerned about radiation exposure while taking dental x-rays. Many dentists today use digital radiography techniques, which reduce patient exposure to radiation by as much as 90% when compared with traditional x-rays. A routine set of x-rays exposes patients to less than one day’s worth of natural background radiation. Other benefits of digital radiography include greater diagnostic proficiency and less impact on the environment.
Why would I need treatment when my teeth feel fine?
You may have seen your dentist for a check-up and learned that you need treatment such as a filling, root canal, or crown. You are surprised because you haven’t felt any pain. However, by the time you feel pain, the problem has usually progressed to a more serious level, often causing more damage to the tooth and surrounding tissues and requiring a more involved and expensive procedure. Let’s take a cavity for example. A cavity is a hole in your tooth caused by plaque, which is the sticky substance in your mouth made up mostly of germs. If a cavity is caught in the early stages while it is still small, the treatment is usually a simple filling. Cavities rarely cause any pain unless they have grown large enough to break through the outer layer of the tooth to the nerves. Now, instead of the tooth needing a simple filling, it may require more extensive procedures such as a root canal and/or a crown. It is important to address treatment recommended by your dentist promptly to prevent further complications.
How much will my insurance cover?
The answer to this question depends on several different factors. Every insurance plan is different and the basis for payments varies greatly from plan to plan. Providing us with your dental insurance information prior to your reserved appointment time, will allow us time to verify your coverage and provide you with a cost estimate before your appointment. We can also request a pre-determination to obtain an estimate from the insurance company prior to performing treatment. Remember, all treatment costs are estimates only and we cannot guarantee insurance coverage or benefits. Many doctors and dentists file insurance as a courtesy to patients. Your insurance policy is an agreement between you and the insurance carrier and any fees not paid by the plan are the responsibility of the patient. Refer to your coverage handbook to learn more about your dental benefits.
Can I go back to work or school after my dental treatment?
In the vast majority of cases, patients may return to their normal daily routine after dental treatment is completed. Even if you had nitrous oxide (laughing gas) during your procedure you will leave the office without any side effects and should be able to return to your normal routine. Caution should be used, however, especially in young children, to not bite or chew the lip or tongue of the anesthetized area. Patients who have had conscious sedation treatment should take the remainder of the day to rest and recover and must be accompanied by a trusted companion.