There are many things that lead us to contact a dentist, but one thing is certain: timing plays a crucial role in solving a dental problem. This is why the first visit and the correct treatment plan are so important.
An early and accurate diagnosis can correct a problem caused by a previous intervention performed incorrectly or an existing pathology. The symptoms that prompt us to contact the dentist are easy to feel but difficult to understand. People often only go to a dentist for tooth pain, however, it is better to contact a specialist for gingival bleeding, occlusal and posture problems, or head pain.
Here's how we operate in the Bracchetti Office:
First the patient fills in medical and personal information forms. These contain all the health information needed for proper execution of any treatments. We also request any past X-ray materials from the patient and any plaster dental molds.
At this point the first full visit begins. Depending on the clinical situation that the patient presents the following procedures can be carried out:
- Accurate extraoral and intraoral diagnostic examination
- Aesthetic analysis of the face and smile
- Radiographic examination (a single intraoral radiograph may be required up to a full status of 20 intraoral radiographs, an orthopantomography, also known as dental panoramic, a teleradiograph, up to a Cone Beam CT)
- Taking impressions for plaster molds or scanning the arches in digital format
- Facebow registration of the position of the dental arches
- Preparing the periodontal chart, (i.e. the set of all periodontal parameters such as the presence of pockets, recessions, bleeding, etc. etc.)
- Gnathological examination to evaluate the relationship between the dental arches and the presence of any parafunctions
- Extra and intraoral photographic examination
- And finally, preparing a diagnostic wax-up (planning of the treatment and of the desired result) which can be analog, i.e. conventional wax, or digital via software)
It may seem like a long and complex process and we know that the patient does not like to "waste too much time" at the dentist. Nevertheless, to compile an accurate and precise treatment plan we must we carry an out in-depth analysis. The data we gather from the patient allows us to formulate a precise diagnosis and identify the most effective treatment plans suitable for each patients specific case. This applies even more in emergency situations, or when it is necessary to operate after unsatisfactory or unsuccessful interventions carried out previously.
Only after thorough diagnostic tests is it possible to analyze all the problems present both at the dental level and at the bone and gingival level. Thus allowing the formulation of a correct intervention plan. At the end of the first appointment we create a document for the patient to review during the second visit containing detailed indications of the various therapeutic options.
Also inside the document are cost estimates of the various treatment options, different methods of payment, the precautions to be taken before and after future appointments, and the advice on post-treatment maintenance.
Once the treatment plan has been decided upon the actual treatment begins. The first step is normally a hygiene session carried out by a qualified hygienist who also completes the periodontal chart. In reality, the initial preparation is often a necessary step to confirm the prognosis of the individual dental elements and, therefore, must be carried out before the definitive formulation of the treatment plan itself.