Initial First Visit
From your very first phone call, we will strive to treat you as a preferred guest to our office. We want you to feel comfortable and assured that you are in the highest quality comprehensive care possible. We will be happy to reserve an appointment time for you to begin your evaluation.
Before treatment begins, your oral health will be evaluated. This evaluation includes questions about your medical and dental history, a dental exam and radiographs. This information is key to form and recommend a treatment plan created especially for you.
You will be asked about key factors that could affect periodontal disease or treatment, such as:
- Medications: It is crucial to provide Dr. Crofcheck with a complete list of the medications you are currently taking, including dosage, to ensure there will be no possible drug interactions with a medication that may be prescribed for you. Also, certain medications can affect periodontal disease. These include oral contraceptives and treatments for epilepsy, high blood pressure and other conditions.
- Artificial Implants if you have a heart valve, joint replacement or other types of implants, you may need to take antibiotics before some or all dental treatments.
- Smoking can prolong healing.
- Diabetes If you have diabetes, controlling it is a key part of treating periodontal disease.
- Pregnancy You may need more frequent cleanings during pregnancy.
Dr. Crofcheck will ask if you have a history of periodontal disease and about previous/future dental work, such as bridges or crowns. The way you currently maintain your teeth will also be discussed as well as ways to help improve your dental care at home.
Periodontal Disease and Overall Health
Gum disease may have more of an effect on your health than you realize. Inflammation does not just affect just one part of the body, there is a direct link to serious health problems such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, arthritis, and cancer.
The Periodontal Exam and Probing
During your first exam, Dr. Crofcheck will check your gums for bleeding, swelling, firmness, recession and sensitivity. You will also be checked for signs of gradual tooth movement and movement that occurs with direct pressure. Bite problems that could affect periodontal health will also be checked.
One way to check for gum damage and bone loss is to measure how deep the pockets are by probing. During probing, an instrument similar to a tiny ruler is gently inserted between the tooth and gum. Deeper pockets indicate more severe disease. Pockets 5 millimeters or greater indicate periodontal problems. A healthy pocket (sulcus) can be up to 3 millimeters deep.
Full mouth x-rays show each tooth, including its roots, and show the bone surrounding the teeth which helps detect bone loss. Other x-rays may be required based on the individual.
Your Treatment Plan
After your evaluation, Dr. Crofcheck will fully explain your treatment options. In many cases, non-surgical treatments are performed first. This may be the only treatment necessary or it may be a first step in preparing for surgery. In some cases, surgery is planned from the initial evaluation. After treatment, on-going maintenance is necessary to keep the disease under control.