Why do I need a complete exam?
In reality, a complete exam should be standard at any dental office for the first visit and every 3-5 years thereafter. Sadly, in the busy, rush-rush lives we lead, few offices actually take the time to do a thorough, comprehensive dental examination. We feel it is one of the most important things we do because it is the way we identify factors that might be damaging your dental health – factors that could lead to tooth loss if not intercepted early.
Your Complete Exam starts with a discussion with Dr. Minch, reviewing your immediate concerns and long-term goals for your teeth as well as a thorough dental history. The exam continues with evaluations of your chewing muscles and TMJ area, then an inspection of your teeth, tooth by tooth, noting any decay, fracture lines, worn areas due to grinding, and the condition of old fillings.
A complete periodontal exam is next, evaluating the health of the gums, noting recession and recording periodontal pockets. An oral cancer exam is performed, followed by any appropriate x-rays and impressions for study models. Finally, a full series of digital photographs is taken.
The last step of our Complete Exam is a consultation with Dr. Minch to review his findings. From there, you and Dr. Minch will create a plan to bring your mouth to total dental health as well as to make any cosmetic changes you may desire.
When you leave the consultation, you will have all the information you need to know (1) the state of your mouth’s health or the presence of any disease and (2) a plan or plan options to achieve total dental health and (3) what will happen in the future if no treatment is undertaken. Whether you decide to proceed with a definitive treatment plan via Complete Dentistry or decide to postpone treatment for a more appropriate time in the future, you will leave our office with the sure knowledge of your mouth’s overall health.
Am I a candidate for veneers?
Porcelain veneers can be a beautiful restoration used to correct a multitude of dental challenges, such as dark, yellowed teeth, shortened teeth from grinding, spaces between teeth, developmentally small teeth, crooked teeth, and the list goes on.
Many people are hesitant to choose veneers because they have seen their friends end up with large, ugly “horse teeth” that may become chipped or that make chewing uncomfortable.
Porcelain veneers call on the artistry and science of dentistry to design the proper size, shape and feel for each individual patient. Only an unwavering commitment to excellence can accomplish this every time. A strong background in smile design principles, facial biomechanics, as well as an artistic “eye” is essential to creating beautiful and natural looking teeth that will be comfortable and attractive – and will fool your friends every time!
Knowing whether you are a candidate for porcelain veneers is a question answered through our Complete Exam. We will assess any unique challenges and gain a thorough understanding of your concerns and goals to achieve the most dazzling smile possible.
Am I too old for braces?
The old expression that “age is just a number” has never been more true than in the case of braces. We have patients in their 50’s and 60’s who have gotten braces as a first step towards creating the smile they desired.
The important thing to remember is that, in most cases, braces are utilized to move teeth for functional reasons, not cosmetic concerns. In other words, porcelain veneers or any other cosmetic work looks more natural and less artificial if the teeth are in the right place.
Additionally, chewing ability and muscle joint comfort are directly related to teeth that are aligned properly and meshing efficiently. Braces are also used to move teeth to a better position to correct gum issues.
When teeth are moved into ideal positions for these reasons, they look much better as a result! With all the options available to us today, such as clear Invisalign or braces bonded to the backs of the teeth, there is no reason not to make your teeth straighter, healthier and more comfortable. You deserve it – at any age!
Should I be concerned if my bite feels like it is changing or if I have several different bites?
Possibly. The area of dentistry dealing with “bite issues” has intrigued Dr. Minch throughout his career. In fact, in dental school, he wrote a paper on that very topic. We have learned a lot more information since that time and one thing is very clear – the bite is the foundation that supports and influences the health of your teeth, gums, muscles and TMJs.
So the fact that your bite feels as if it is shifting or that you don’t have one solid, stable place to put your teeth together may be an indication of instability in the joint-muscle-teeth system. This instability may never give you any trouble or progress beyond where it is now. On the other hand, if left untreated, it could lead to broken teeth, sore muscles and joints, loose teeth or even tooth loss.
This is why we explore these areas during your initial appointment through our Complete Exam. In this way, we are able to evaluate and identify areas of damage due to an unstable bite and recommend treatment options that will create stability and overall dental health.
Dr. Minch is not listed as a provider in my insurance plan. Why not?
Dr. Minch has dedicated himself to providing excellence in dental treatment for more than 25 years. While the State of Maryland mandates 15 hours of Continuing Education (CE) each year to maintain a dental license, Dr. Minch averages more than 10 times that amount every year (more than 150 hours of CE each year).
His dedication and commitment to excellence translates into the finest dental treatment available. From state-of-the-art diagnostic techniques to using the best materials to create beautiful, comfortable, long-lasting smiles, Dr. Minch is devoted to providing the finest dentistry possible in a very pleasant, comfortable setting. Fulfilling this commitment, in part, involves time – time to accurately evaluate and diagnose the state of your dental health via a Complete Exam (usually a 90-minute appointment followed by an additional consultation to review the findings), as well as time to carefully and precisely design, execute and finish your dental treatment.
Being a provider in an insurance plan simply does not allow for that investment of time. Most dental providers in an insurance plan agree to accept a lesser fee in exchange for serving more patients. More patients and a decreased fee translate into reduced attention to you , and less time per procedure- often resulting in rushed results.
Dental insurance is typically a negotiated agreement between your employer and the insurance company in terms of how much they agree to contribute towards your dental needs. In most cases, it is designed to help with cleaning and simple fillings and perhaps an occasional crown. For any definitive dental treatment that goes beyond those services, dental insurance amounts to a coupon or rebate.
We are very aware and empathetic to the potential costs of Complete Dentistry. Everyone on our staff understands the challenge of juggling family budgets and personal needs. To that end, we provide an array of options to make a beautiful, comfortable smile as affordable as possible. We are here to make it work for you and are committed to creating a plan that achieves the best dentistry on your terms – whether it’s one porcelain onlay a year or a total makeover; it’s all up to you!
I have known him to be an excellent clinical dentist but also an extraordinary leader and educator for dentists. His commitment to continuing education for himself and his dental colleagues is noteworthy. After working for 3 years on one such meeting, I asked with incredulity why he did this and his response was a simple and brilliant…it’s because it’s what I do. His passion for this has influenced dentists from all over the country and we feel blessed to be a part of it.