Patient 101: How to Make the Most of Your New Patient Visit

Your first phone call with a dental office is undoubtedly a predictable affair—you are asked questions regarding personal contact information and preferences, whether you have immediate dental concerns or simply wish to establish routine care, and what appointment time is convenient with your busy schedule. However, there are a few tips that can make your first experience as a new patient in a dental office easy and efficient—and may even save you money:

  1. Be upfront about your dental history, concerns, and home care: has it been five years (or more) since you’ve sat in a dental chair? Do you have gums that bleed, broken teeth, signs of infection?  Do you actively ignore the floss sitting in your bathroom cabinet? Are you terrified of dental offices and white coats? If so, tell the person who is scheduling your initial appointment. This information will ensure that you are seeing the correct provider for the correct amount of time. . It’s best to let your future provider know what to expect by being upfront about whatever concerns you have, and what you might need during your first appointment.
  2. Returning your new patient paperwork prior to your first visit: We ask that you fill this out online ahead of your appointment or come in 15 minutes prior to your scheduled time. This helps us input important information like allergies, medications. The information you provide on your new patient information form is integral; it is an important tool in ensuring your first appointment is comfortable and safe.
  3. Request current X-Rays: if you have recent X-Rays (bite-wing or cavity detecting X-Rays in the last year; full mouth X-Rays or panoramic film in the last 3-5 years), get in contact with your previous provider and have copies sent to our office. This can help you avoid additional costs and redundancy in services.
  4. Are we billing insurance? Make sure you send us a copy of your insurance card: this helps us investigate insurance coverage prior to your first visit. Without this information, we can’t be sure that you’ll receive benefits in our office. We hate sending out bills to patients when we expect more comprehensive benefits from your dental policy. It’s embarrassing and will undoubtedly blemish whatever positive experience you received with our providers. To avoid the shock of an unexpected bill, please ensure that you provide us with your current benefit information prior to your first appointment. Many patients confuse their medical and dental benefit information. If you’re unsure, contact your human resources adviser, insurance broker, or carrier with any concerns.
  5. Don’t ignore or minimize important aspects of your health: No matter how awkward it may be, sharing important information about your health is critical for your dental provider. Such information can help our providers form connections between systemic health and what we see with your physiology and oral symptoms. Let us know the details on your intake form and rest assured that your information is federally and ethically protected. Again, no judgment.

The overall message we hope you take from this is we’re here to help you get the most out of your time with our providers and from your benefits plan. By giving us a comprehensive understanding your medical and dental history, along with you current dental benefits, we are able to maximize your time, money, and ensure you’re getting the best care possible.