The requirement for pre-treatment consultations

Why these appointments play an important role in your dental care.

Initial consultations at our Wickford dental practice are widely used when a patient is considering a new type of treatment. These are not usually necessary for routine dental care, but they are a critical part of some procedures to ensure the most appropriate treatment and the best outcome for the patient.

Many of our patients lead busy lives and are understandably keen to get started on the treatment straight away. For them, it may seem that an initial consultation is a drain on their already limited time; so today’s blog tries to explain why we consider consultations to be such an important part of the treatment process.

What happens at an initial consultation?

Unlike an examination where a thorough inspection may be made of your overall oral health, a consultation will also include a broader discussion between patient and dentist. There may well be an examination in a clinical consultation, but also an introduction to a treatment such as dental implants for example. This helps to make sure that there is a thorough understanding both of the patient’s desires and circumstances, and, on the patient’s part, what the treatment entails. For a procedure such as implants for example, a patient may have a number of concerns about the treatment, perhaps from reading some unreliable information on the internet. So the initial consultation serves as an excellent opportunity to fully explain the procedure, answer the patient’s questions and assess suitability.

Amongst the questions you are likely to be asked, are the following:

What do you want to achieve from the treatment?

Whilst some treatments are ‘black and white’, many others, especially cosmetic treatments, have a degree of flexibility. A good example of this is if you want to have your teeth whitened.  At one end of the spectrum are patients who want to have dazzling white teeth to match those popular with some celebrities. Others may prefer a more subtle approach, preferring to avoid the more obvious improvements and opting instead for an improvement in the whiteness by just a few shades.

Using this example and depending on the circumstances, we may suggest that veneers might provide a better long term solution than whitening, particularly where staining is extensive and maybe chips and cracks are also evident. In return, the patient will need to weigh up the pros and cons of longer lasting whiteness and uniformity, versus the requirement for an invasive procedure and bigger budget. This conversation allows us to arrange a treatment plan that helps to achieve the patient’s wishes in the best way possible.

How is your health?

Depending on the treatment required, your overall health may play a role in deciding your suitability for some treatments. Someone, for example, who is on blood thinning medication such as Warfarin, may come to see us about having minor surgery such as dental implant placement. Whilst this is still possible, it is important that you are totally honest with us about your medical health and any medication that you are taking so we can check to cover all eventualities. You can be sure that your information will remain strictly confidential.

You are unique

Every one of our Wickford patients is important to us, and, whether you arrive for a small filling or a more extensive procedure, you can be sure that you are in the safe hands of our experienced dental team. Because you are unique, your initial consultation is important. We can provide a basic description of the various treatments that we offer, on our website and in leaflets, but this can’t replace a thorough one-to-one conversation.

The same applies to our prices, we have included our prices on our website, but this can only be a general guide as you may require additional treatments that add to the cost. Dental implant placement, again, is a good example of this. Whilst a regular implant placement is relatively straightforward if the patient has sufficient jawbone structure, some patients may lack this and need a prior bone graft or sinus lift. Patients will, quite naturally, want to know the cost of their treatment before it starts. Once the cost has been determined, we will also discuss the various payment plans that we offer to help you spread the cost over a period of time.

No obligation

It should be noted that if you arrange a consultation to discuss possible treatment, there is no obligation to go ahead with it. It may be that, after discussing a particular treatment, you feel it is not for you. We may then offer an alternative route to improve your teeth but you are not obliged to accept it.

Whilst a consultation offers a chance to discuss a procedure in detail, we are also happy to offer brief advice during your regular six monthly oral health checks here at the Cygnet Dental Practice. Whilst we will not be able to offer in depth information at this time, we may be able to answer simple questions, and then, if appropriate and the patient wishes to, a separate consultation can be arranged to discuss in more detail.

If you have been considering one of our cosmetic dental procedures but have been unsure if you are suitable, or are concerned about any aspect of the treatment, an initial consultation is the ideal way to find your answers. You can arrange one, simply by calling us on 01268 733078.