What to Expect for a Comprehensive New Patient Exam

What to Expect for a Comprehensive New Patient Exam

Great! You have made an appointment for a new patient exam at McKeefry Dental. Thanks for choosing us to provide your dental needs. Below is some information about what to expect during your appointment.

Before your appointment

It is useful for us to have your previous dental records as that way we can understand any previous treatments that you have had done.  For example, we can compare x-rays if we are worried about any areas that may need treatment. Dental records belong to you. The easiest way to access your records is to ring or email your previous dentist and ask them to send any records either directly to us (they can be emailed to reception@mckeefrydental.co.nz) or to yourself for you to then forward to us. Please make sure you specify to your previous dentist that you also want your x-rays.

We will send you a welcoming email advising how you can find us. There is a link in this email to a New Patient form. Please spend a few minutes filling this form out and then you can email it back to us prior to your appointment. Alternatively, we have copies of the form you can fill out at McKeefry Dental on the day.

On the day of your appointment

If you haven’t filled out the New Patient form, please arrive 10-15 minutes early to do so. Our reception staff are happy to assist you in completing the form if required. If you have already filled out your forms, please arrive about 5 minutes before your appointment so reception can ensure we have your details correct. Remember parking in the city can be difficult so please allow enough time to find a park if you are travelling by car.

Before looking at your teeth

Your dentist Angela or Sally will go over your medical history with you. Health issues and/or medication can impact on the health of your mouth and any dental treatments we may provide.

Dr Angela McKeefry
Dr Sally Woods

They will then talk about any dental concerns that you have and ask you some questions about the history of the problem or what your expectations are for treatment.

Taking x-rays

After discussing your medical history and any dental concerns the next stage is to take x-rays. For a new patient, we will take our standard check-up x-rays (bitewings of your back teeth) and a full mouth panoramic (OPG). We may also decide to take extra x-rays of roots of teeth we have particular concerns about such as teeth which have been sore, had previous root canal treatment, experienced trauma or have deep fillings. If some of these x-rays have been supplied with previous records then we may decide not to repeat them today.


Normally we will start an examination by looking at the outside of your face and neck. We will check your jaw joint (TMJ) and maybe ask you further questions if we notice any areas on your skin that are of concern. This doesn’t mean we will treat these areas but we might recommend that you go and see your GP or another specialist.

We will then do an exam of your soft tissues, this includes your lips, tongue, cheeks and roof of your mouth. The idea of this is to check for any areas that look different to normal. Sometimes these areas are harmless; it might be where a tooth rubs against the gum for example. However, other times if the areas are more concerning we might get you back in a few weeks to review the area or we might need to consider referral to a specialist for a second opinion.

Gum issues are really important for your overall health and health of your mouth/teeth (you can read more about that here). We will do a screen of your gum health by placing a small probe between your gum and the tooth. It is possible that if we notice any areas of concern we may recommend an appointment with our hygienists. You can read about what is involved in a hygiene appointment here.

After this, we will update your dental charting. This is where we note down any missing teeth you may have, any previous root canals and fillings and their materials. This is the part where it often sounds like we are talking another language to our assistant. This dental charting is really important for several reasons such as understanding your dental history and areas for any potential treatment.  

We will then assess your bite, any large or broken fillings or cracked teeth. We may consider doing special tests on certain teeth or take photos or a digital scan of your teeth – this will be assessed on a case by case basis.


After we have collected the information we need, we will talk with you about any areas we are concerned about or that you had identified as of a concern. Sometimes there are different treatment options available with different pro’s and con’s so we will make the decision together with you about what is going to be best for your teeth, your mouth, your lifestyle or budget. We may discuss certain products or tools that we think may be beneficial for you. We will give you an estimate of what any treatment will cost and then book any relevant appointments that you may require, or schedule a follow up exam for you in 6 months or a years’ time.

If you have any questions or you would like to book a Comprehensive New Patient Exam, please get in contact with our reception team by either emailing reception@mckeefrydental.co.nz or giving us a call on 04 473 7802.


Leave a Comment