We start with a thorough exam to determine an accurate diagnosis. Every patient is treated as an individual. Our only overriding protocol is to provide the best dentistry for the most natural, longest-lasting results. Your initial appointment will consist of a consultation explaining your diagnosis and treatment options. Occasionally, treatment can be done the same day as the consultation. However, complex dental needs or treatment plan often require an evaluation followed by a second appointment to provide treatment on another day.
Please assist us by providing the following information at the time of your initial visit:
- An original copy of your most recent x-rays – regardless of their age.
- Your referral slip if applicable.
- A list of medications you are currently taking.
- If you have dental insurance, bring your insurance card. This will allow us to help you process any claims.
Your previous office has taken x-rays. You will need to request that they forward them to our office. Most can be emailed, but offices that have not taken digital x-rays will need to provide you with an original copy – they are your property and this is your right. Today’s HIPAA regulations dictate that you make the request personally for fill out a form. If you would like us to contact your previous office on your behalf, please download this x-ray request form, sign it and fax or email it to our office. We’ll take care of the rest for you.
Any additional x-rays that prove necessary can be taken in our office.
Individual patient care is top priority to us. Because we emphasize the preservation of natural teeth, it’s critical that our team provides you with quality long-term oral healthcare.
When you become a patient of our practice, you’ll receive a comprehensive oral evaluation with a focus on your personalized needs and desires. As you continue with us, we’ll ensure that you receive periodic oral evaluations at least every six months, or as recommended based on your individual oral healthcare needs.
All oral evaluations are conducted with your input by Dr. Sharifi in addition to a thorough cleaning with your hygienist. The comprehensive oral exam is a thorough evaluation and a complete recording of your dental and medical health needs and desires.
During your comprehensive exam, we assess each tooth for its health as well as any restorations (fillings) you may have, their current health status and any treatment your teeth need individually or collectively. We conduct a periodontal screening to evaluate the health and condition of your gums and bone. We also perform an oral cancer screening, identify and discuss any previous dental work completed by other providers, and note your general medical health as well as medications that could impact your course of dental care. Many patients comment this is the most thorough dental exam they’ve ever had.
Subsequently, every six months, we complete a periodic oral evaluation in which we update your medical history – including any changes to your health or medications, conduct a periodontal screening to assess the condition of your gums and bone, perform an oral cancer screening, and, once again, assess the health of your teeth and their restorations. If it is determined that you have a high risk for periodontal disease or decay then either three month or four month recall protocols would be indicated to improve your overall wellness and control your disease.
In this office, the health of your teeth is paramount; however, we strive to balance the negative impact of radiation with the positive information that x-rays provide. Using your personal risk assessment, the appropriate amount of time between x-rays will be determined. Your risk assessment is based on your current disease status, your history of disease as well as your personal needs and desires. This ensures that your individualized pattern of prophylaxis, exam and radiographs matches your personal needs.
As a component of your oral evaluation, our patients receive full mouth radiographs (FMX) that show all the teeth, restorations, and the bone that surrounds the teeth; or bitewing x-rays (BWX) that show the highest risk areas. Together the American Dental Association and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have created guideline to take follow up x-rays as soon as 6 months for patients who’ve had cavities. That is too much radiation. Thankfully those guidelines were changed to match what we’ve been doing all along – recognizing and rewarding those at low risk for decay with extended intervals between x-ray series.
During the middle adult years, dental risk is at its lowest point – so we increasing these intervals for FMX from two years to three, four or even five years. Between these full series of x-rays, we’ll take the cavity detecting bitewing x-rays which show most high risk areas with only four images resulting in a large reduction in radiation exposure. Based on your individual risk, we’ll break up the time between the full series of x-rays with one or two intervals of bitewing x-rays. If you’ve never had a cavity, we extend our imaging intervals even further to every six years for FMX and every three years for BWX. Of course, with all these guidelines, we would take any necessary x-rays as the need arises due to individualized issues with any specific clinical situation.
During the later adult years, dental risk is at its highest point – even higher than childhood. When we are half way through our sixties, the natural and disease-induced shrinkage of bone and gum tissue exposes the roots of our teeth and place all of us at risk for root decay. During this phase of life, if you’ve shown a pattern of root decay, we shorten the times between an FMX and may require BWX annually. In some instances, we are able to take BWX of your anterior teeth. We will work with you and your specific needs to create a personalized protocol that is best matched based on your risk assessment at every stage of your life.
These personalized protocols will help control disease, reduce your health risk and improve your overall chance for success.