What to Expect at a New Patient Exam

If you are new to Phoenix and choosing a dentist, you may experience a different kind of new patient visit when you come into Dr. Carol Ford’s office.

“A new patient exam is our first opportunity to get to know a patient in detail—and we

Dr. Carol Ford

Dr. Carol Ford

are extraordinarily thorough. That first visit establishes the patient’s overall health, which is important for us to know,” says Dr. Ford.

The visit starts with photographs of the face and teeth. “A photograph tells us a lot about alignment, muscle tension, and symmetry of the face,” Dr. Ford says. “Photographs inside the mouth create an instant and accurate record of the state of the mouth and general health. It may be necessary for comparisons later on, or to check on the progression of dental or periodontal work.”

Dr Ford will then check on the existing treatments in the mouth—dental bridges, crowns, fillings and veneers. Gum and bone loss is determined to make sure any further loss is treated quickly.

Noting occlusions and making sure the patient’s bite is correct also establishes a marker for the beginning of the relationship. Any changes that occur over time can be measured against the original exam.

A careful and thorough examination for oral cancers and other diseases is important for a new patient, who may have not seen a dentist for a year or more.

“Time can pass quickly when you aren’t making regular appointments, and screening for abnormalities is a smart idea, “ Dr. Ford says. “The earlier we find a problem, the easier it is to determine the correct treatment and start it,” she explains.

A new patient can also expect a set of 18 films (X-rays) to be taken, including a panoramic set taken outside the mouth. The panorama of films help locate bone tumors and sinus problems as well.

“A thorough new patient exam takes about an hour,” says Dr. Ford. “At the end of the hour, we will have a solid record of the patients dental and general health and a good idea of priorities in the upcoming months.”

At Dr. Ford’s office, the primary goal is a healthy mouth and a sparkling smile, for both new and returning patients.


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