How is the comprehensive approach of your practice different from the usual and customary approach?
Most dentistry addresses emergency needs or the repair of a single tooth at a time. The comprehensive approach involves a whole lot more.
We take time getting to know you and do a very thorough clinical exam to discover your complete oral health circumstances. Dr. Rolfes explores with you what is possible to achieve in your mouth, what needs to be done, and what you want to achieve. Prior to treatment, Dr. Rolfes carefully plans treatment that addresses not only your immediate objectives but also the long-term health of the whole mouth.
For your oral health, we have a “comprehensive” preventive and restorative agenda. Our ideal for your oral health includes healthy gums and soft tissue, healthy jaw joints, comfortable muscles, all teeth working in harmony without damaging stress, naturally beautiful esthetics that light up your smile, and dental restorations that are predictably long lasting. Even for patients with complex problems, this can be achieved with careful planning and well-coordinated, expertly-executed treatment.
What will happen at my first appointment?
The comprehensive oral health evaluation is always an important process for the new patient in a practice. Dr. Rolfes will be concerned first with getting to know you as a unique individual. He will be concerned next with a co-discovery clinical examination, which will allow both of you to determine the aspects of your oral health and appearance that can be improved.
The comprehensive evaluation begins with discussing your medical history and previous dental experiences. Dr. Rolfes will gain valuable insights as you talk about your past experiences and express where you see your present level of oral health. He will invite you to talk about your concerns, expectations and desires.
The complete clinical examination will be thorough, perhaps, more thorough than you have experienced before. The entire process might take place over more than one visit, depending on your circumstances. If you have an urgent need, Dr. Rolfes will address this need quickly.
What is your philosophy related to referring to other dental specialists?
Staying consistent with our practice philosophy of working for what is in the best interest of the patients we are fortunate enough to serve, we refer to area specialists when indicated. These are doctors we have developed relationships with over time based on similar commitments to optimal care.
Do you take insurance?
We are committed to maximizing your insurance benefits. We will fill out your insurance forms at no cost and mail them. Insurance payments, however, will come directly to the patient, not our office. We want to work 100% for our patients, not the insurance companies.
What are your financial policies?
We want to help you afford the dentistry you need. There are a variety of financial options including payment plans and payment by credit card, check or cash. We also have arrangements with financial institutions for unsecured loans with low interest rates for our patients who qualify. Phasing your dentistry over time, if appropriate, can be of great help in affording the dentistry you need.
Will you mind if I want a second opinion?
Not at all, and in fact we often encourage it. Particularly with more complex and extensive care, it is paramount that both parties feel comfortable with the choice to work together.
What do I do if I have an emergency when the office is closed?
Dr. Rolfes can always be reached at the number listed on our office message center. If he is away for any reason, a doctor on call, whom he knows personally, will be available.
Why is my occlusion so important, and just what is occlusion, anyway?
Have you ever had a raspberry seed stuck in your teeth? It might as well have been a boulder, right? Occlusion has to do with the way the teeth fit. If the teeth fit, but the muscles that support the jaw are not happy in that position, the result can be headaches, neck aches, TMJ (jaw joint) problems, broken or severely worn teeth and restorations, receding gums and loosening of the teeth. When the teeth, bones, joints and muscles are in harmony, the “permanence” or longevity of the dentistry required is highly predictable.
I read somewhere that headaches can be related to my bite. Is that true?
There is a matrix of muscles involved in lower jaw movement that surrounds the jaw joints and connects the lower jaw to the skull, neck (cervical spine), and the shoulder girdle (what physical therapists call the “upper quadrant”). There are also peripheral muscles used in swallowing and head posture. When any of the masticatory system muscles are stressed by poor occlusion, they can be in low-grade spasm that affects other connective muscles and ultimately result in headaches.
I experience noises in my jaw joints. Should I be concerned?
Very definitely! Pops, clicks and grinding or sandy-sounding noises mean there is something going on in the joint that is not normal. It usually indicates disharmony between the muscles of mastication and the way the teeth fit, resulting in stretching or tearing of the supporting cartilage and ligaments in the TMJ itself. If these signs and symptoms are accompanied by pain, call right away to have your jaw joints, muscles and occlusion evaluated.
I want to improve the appearance of my teeth but I’m afraid of what it might cost and what I might have to go through. Can you help me explore the range of what is possible and make choices that are best for me?
You have likely seen a host of advertisements promoting cosmetic smile makeovers. While these may have inspired you to seek the services of a highly trained dentist, they also may have made you a little concerned about the extent to which a dentist will advise you to go. It’s important to remember the best dentists are always interested in your personal concerns and preferences. They value your wellbeing above personal gain and will fully inform you about your options so you can make the right choices for yourself. Dr. Rolfes will be happy to help you decide what is most appropriate for you.