When looking for a dentist in Anchorage, turn to a dental office having many years of combined experience in all areas of family-dental practice. Finding a good fit with a dentist and staff, is one of the most important factors that motivate patients to continue with good oral-hygiene routines.
- Prior to your first appointment, it’s a good idea to:
- Visit the dental office prior to making an appointment.
- Ask to meet the dentist and some of the hygiene staff who might be assisting the adults and children in the family.
- Ask if there are special rooms or techniques used to help little patients feel more comfortable when visiting the dentist.
- If you have extra-sensitive teeth and gums, ask about pain management techniques, even when having a basic cleaning done. It is perfectly acceptable to ask, and understand, how the fees and payments work, if the office accepts monthly payments, credit cards or insurance plans.
- If a patient’s treatment plan requires a dental specialist, for example, a root canal, periodontal or orthodontic treatment, dental offices maintain close connections to the specialists treating their patients. The dentist will receive a detailed report from the specialist and incorporate it into a patient’s chart and continuing treatment.
If, after a few routine cleaning appointments, one dentist or hygienist stands out as a good match, schedule future appointments with these professionals.
Patients often ask how they would know if they actually received a “good, thorough cleaning” from a hygienist. This is an important question because, until a problem develops, it is difficult for the patient to know.
Consider these points:
- The hygienist should check each tooth for “pockets” around the tooth. Pockets measuring over a certain depth require additional scrutiny. They often indicate beginning or advanced gum disease.
- Treatments for some gum disease patients can be given in the office, including antibiotic applications to the affected areas.
- Many hygienists incorporate an exam of the neck and jaw areas for lumps or irregularities inside the mouth. They might be the first line of defense in finding an oral pre-cancerous lesion or growth.
- Usually, a cleaning appointment lasts 45 minutes. This amount of time allows for set-up and cleanup and time for the hygienist to record notes in the file about the previous patient.
- Allowing enough time for transition between patients also helps ensure that treatment areas are properly cleaned and sanitized in between patients.
- Using ultrasonic cleaning techniques generally results in a more thorough cleaning. However, some manual cleaning might be necessary in certain situations.