First Visit

What will transpire on my first visit?

With your authorization, our office staff will obtain your most recent radiographs directly from the referring dentist, or from a previous dentist for your convenience. If you do not have current x-rays (older than 1 year), Dr. Fitzgerald may require updated radiographs which will be performed at our office on your first appointment.

A complete medical/dental history which will include all medication and allergies you are currently taking. Please include any and all prescription and over-the-counter medications. Our medical forms are available at the front desk or on the website for your convenience in completing them before your appointment.

Regarding dental insurance, please bring the appropriate insurance cards to your first visit. Please note that we have information on financing with CareCredit on our website.

Patients under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at the first visit.

Please notify our office prior to your first visit if you have a medical condition or concern, such as, artificial heart valves or joint replacements requiring pre-medication, uncontrolled diabetes or hypertension

Scaling & Root Planing

One of the first stages of treatment for periodontal disease is a thorough cleaning that may include scaling or root planing. Scaling and root planing will remove etiologic agents such as dental plaque and tartar, or calculus, which cause gingival inflammation and disease. Both of these treatments can be used as a stand-alone treatment or a preventative measure. Commonly, these treatments are performed on cases of gingivitis and moderate to severe periodontal disease.

Scaling: Calculus and plaque attached to the tooth surfaces will be removed through the process of scaling. This process especially targets the area below the gum line along the root. An ultrasonic scaling tool is used to remove calculus and plaque delivering an antimicrobial agent below the gums to help reduce oral bacteria.

Root Planing: Root planing is performed to remove cementum and surface dentin that is embedded with unwanted microorganisms, toxins and tartar. The root of the tooth is literally smoothed which promotes healing and helps prevent bacteria from colonizing in the future.

Treatment Benefits

Scaling and root planing may have many periodontal benefits if the treatment is successful. One benefit is that it can help prevent disease. Research has shown that bacteria from periodontal disease can travel through the blood stream and negatively affect other areas of the body. Sometimes this bacteria can result in causing heart and respiratory diseases. Another benefit is that scaling and planing protects against teeth loss. When gum pockets exceed 3 mm in depth, the risk for periodontal disease will increase. As pockets deepen, more bacteria are able to colonize which may cause a chronic inflammatory response by the body to destroy gingival and bone tissue. This will lead to teeth loss. One more benefit is that scaling and root planing can make the mouth more aesthetically pleasing and should reduce bad breath caused from food particles and bacteria in the oral cavity. Superficial stains on the teeth will be removed during the scaling and root planing treatment adding a cosmetic plus.


Following any combination of non-surgical therapy, you will be scheduled for an appointment to evaluate your results.  Hopefully, your gums will be healthy and we can move to the periodontal maintenance phase of therapy. There are some instances where we cannot get adequate healing from non-surgical treatment and have to proceed to more advanced care. In those instances, please be rest assured that we will fully explain what we need to do, and you will be fully involved in any decisions.