Diagnostic Services

Comprehensive New Patient Examination

A complete evaluation of the entire chewing system is the foundation of helping patients establish and maintain excellent oral health. A new patient examination is tailored to each individual. The time spent with a new patient reviewing medical and dental histories and learning what a patient’s long-term goals are helps us develop a personalized treatment and maintenance program.

I feel that a patient should not be treated until their condition is evaluated and diagnosed through an examination.
The process is basic and simple – Interview, Examine, Diagnosis, Determine Treatment Options, Prescribe Treatment, and Treat.

The examination will include:

  • Evaluation of the muscles that influence the chewing system
  • Evaluation of the TM Joints
  • Oral Cancer Screening
  • Evaluation of the appropriate Radiographic Surveys indicated
  • Periodontal Evaluation (gum disease or pyorrhea)
  • Evaluation of the teeth for decay, fractures, mobility, and wear
  • Evaluation of the Occlusion (bite or fit of the teeth)
  • Evaluation of Facial Esthetics and Smile Analysis

Based on these findings, we are able to help patients develop an appropriate plan for establishing excellent dental health.

Our goal is for patients to keep their teeth in good health for a lifetime.

Emergency or Problem Focused Visits

Some manner of emergency is often the stimulus for a patient to seek dental care. We are happy to help patients through an emergency situation. Once we have helped them resolve their urgent concern, we will invite the patient to return and allow us to help them prevent future emergencies. The Comprehensive New Patient Examination is the next step.

An Emergency Patient will see the same process used in the New Patient Examination. The Emergency Evaluation will be more focused on the immediate problem and a solution.
The process is basic and simple – Interview, Examine, Diagnosis, Determine Treatment Options, Prescribe Treatment, and Treat.
The process is the same!

Digital X-rays

journal-tableDigital Radiographs are the most modern and safe radiographic technique available in dentistry. By the use of a computer sensor, detailed x-ray images may be captured and projected to a computer screen with a fraction of the radiation of normal films. The doctor can review the images with the patient on the computer screen as the details of the images are evaluated.

We have the ability to make traditional intra-oral digital x-rays as well as digital panoramic surveys, and 3-D cone-beam CT scans. These are the latest and most advance dental radiographic systems currently available. The added safety and quality of the images assure that our patients have best diagnostic imaging available.

The safety of dental x-rays in general has been accepted for many years. High speed conventional films have been used for a number of years to lower patient and staff exposures to x-rays. The table to the side is from Texas Dental Journal. 1995;112(2):68-72.

The American Dental Association publishes guidelines for patient x-rays based on the recommendations of the Council on Scientific Affairs. Dental x-rays are an integral part of dental examination and diagnosis. The American Dental Association states on its web site (see ada.org in our links section):

Radiographs allow your dentist to see hidden abnormalities, like tooth decay, infections and signs of gum disease, including changes in the bone and ligaments holding teeth in place.

We maintain conventional films for patients who cannot physically accept the digital sensors.

Digital Cone Beam CT Scans

Dental Lasers

There are a number of different dental lasers available to today’s clinicians. Each type of laser has a specific purpose and application. Some lasers will cut soft tissues while others will cut soft tissues, bone, and tooth structure.
Our practice uses the Diode Laser for some soft tissue procedures. The diode may be used in many applications that were previously limited to a scalpel or an electro-surgical unit. The principle benefit is reduced post-operative discomfort. The diode laser is a valuable tool and a service that we are pleased to offer our patients.

Digital Photography

Digital photography has become one of our best communication tools. Most people are better visual learners and as the old saying goes “a picture is worth a 1000 words”. Digital photographs are often a part of our “Comprehensive New Patient Examination”, documenting patient conditions for insurance purposes, or as part of planning and communicating with our supporting specialists.

The camera is an invaluable tool when analyzing facial aesthetics and planning cosmetic changes in a patient’s appearance. Facial structures must be in harmony and the teeth must be properly framed by the face. The shape and position or the teeth are extremely important if facial aesthetics and a beautiful smile are the treatment goals.