In the past, people only went to the dentist for a problem—usually an obvious or severe issue like an achy tooth or bleeding gums. Today, however, modern dentistry offers far more than emergency dental care. If you are looking for a general dentist, here are some things to ask in order to ensure that you receive a full range of services, which can often be covered in full or in part by your dental insurance provider, if you have one.
Most dental professionals recommend that everyone receive a dental exam twice each year. Some patients may need to be seen more often, especially those with orthodontic braces, as the metal brackets and wires tend to trap food debris more easily and make it difficult to brush thoroughly. A complete examination helps to identify plaque formation on the teeth that leads to decay, as well as cavities that have already developed. Regular exams help Dr. Patterson to track new issues with your mouth or teeth—and to treat them promptly, before they become bigger problems.
During a routine checkup, Dr. Patterson, a dental assistant, and/or a hygienist will provide instruction for effective dental care. Tips for brushing, flossing, rinsing, and supplements like fluoride will be discussed, along with foods and beverages to avoid that contribute more directly to tooth decay. New dental-care tools like toothbrushes, toothpaste, pics, or floss may be dispensed, along with guidelines for when and how often to brush. Good dental care begun in childhood can help to prevent or minimize a host of significant problems that can occur as patients grow older. Everyone needs professional dental care to help prevent problems at every stage of life, including childhood, young adulthood, pregnancy, mid-life, and the golden years.
Dr. Patterson offers emergency care as a service to her patients. Loss of a permanent tooth due to injury, or an accident that has caused substantial mouth damage, may result in an office visit for an unscheduled appointment or immediate care/treatment beyond regular office hours. Sometimes, a tooth that has come out can be successfully re-implanted in the gum, if Dr. Patterson has the opportunity to take care of the problem right away.
Younger patients often require a gentle manner from the dentist in order to alleviate fear and anxiety. Kids may also be more likely to experience tooth-related injuries, such as chipping or loosening of teeth. Adults might want treatment to replace the loss of a permanent tooth, which could take the form of a crown or bridge. For older patients, partial or full dentures may be requested. Senior patients sometimes have problems with receding gums or mouth sensitivity due to certain medications. These patients also can be examined for signs of mouth, throat, or neck cancer.
Occasionally, a patient will need to consult with a specialist about other dental issues. Dr. Patterson can write referrals to specialists in endodontics, periodontics, and orthodontics for more extensive treatment. Dr. Patterson works closely with specialists to provide supportive dental checkups and care, both during and after the period of special dental needs. With the patient’s permission, records and x-rays may be shared among these professionals in order to ensure that the patient receives excellent and coordinated care.
For many, general dentistry represents the indispensable foundation of a holistic approach to overall good health. Untreated dental issues can eventually circulate bacteria through the body and carry infection to various locations, causing even more serious problems. We all need our teeth throughout life for the functionality to speak clearly, chew effectively, and maintain general good health. Strong, healthy teeth also play a role in physical attractiveness—and, of course, a smile is the universal gesture of hope and friendship. If you have not seen a highly-qualified dentist in a while, call Dr. Patterson’s office soon to schedule an appointment: (303) 722-9504. It could, quite literally, be life-changing!