5 Ways to Prepare for the Dentist

Dentist team working

Maintaining good dental hygiene goes far beyond flashing a shiny white smile. The health of your teeth and mouth directly affect your overall health and well-being. That’s because countless bacteria live and breed inside the human mouth. These bacteria can build-up and potentially lead to oral diseases, causing major health complications throughout the rest of your body. That’s why visiting a dentist for routine cleanings and checkups are so important in terms of preventative care. If you’ve never been to the dentist or are nervous about going, read on to discover 5 tips to help you prepare for your visit.

1. Clean Up Beforehand

dentistAlthough dentists and dental hygienists are trained professionals, they probably don’t want to pick your lunch out from between your teeth. If you know you have a dentist appointment scheduled that day, avoid foods that tend to get caught in your teeth. Things like spinach, salads, poppy seeds, and popcorn are notorious for getting wedged between your teeth and in your gums. Avoid these foods leading up to your appointment. Bring a toothbrush and floss along to work or school so you can brush your teeth prior to your visit. This helps clear out any food and also freshens your breath, which your dentist will appreciate.

2. Prepare Necessary Paperwork

If you’re a new patient at a specific clinic; find out if there’s any paperwork you need to bring or fill out beforehand. This cuts down on your wait time and makes checking in for your appointment much easier. If you’ve been to the dentist before, call your previous dentist to have your records sent over. These records give the new dentist a better understanding of your condition, dental history, and any issues or complications you may have. These records will likely include recent x-rays and information regarding any procedures you’ve had.

3. Ask Questions

dentistThere’s nothing wrong with asking questions, both before and during your visit. Before booking your appointment, ask the receptionist any concerns you have regarding billing, office policy, or the duration of the appointment. Once you’re in the chair and the examination has begun, feel free to ask the dentist or hygienist what they’re doing each step of the way. They’ll use a variety of tools to clean and examine your mouth. Don’t be afraid to ask what the tools are and how they’re being used. If you’re visiting the dentist for a more complicated issue or procedure like a root canal or having a tooth pulled, ask how long does pain last after a tooth extraction or how long before I can eat normally? The dentist will be glad to answer your questions and address any concerns you have.

4. Be Honest

Don’t be ashamed of your fear or uncertainty over visiting the dentist. Nearly 75% of American adults admitted to having some level of fear about visiting the dentist. Even a routine cleaning can sometimes be uncomfortable or unpleasant. Tell your dentist how you’re feeling about the visit. Being honest about your apprehensions will help the dentist and hygienist better accommodate your needs and perform your exam in a gentle manner. The good news is, most dental exams last no more than 30 minutes and include a cleaning, evaluation of your gums and tooth position, and x-rays — all painless procedures.

5. Make Your Next Appointment

DentistJust going to the dentist once is not enough. In order to maintain healthy teeth and gums and avoid dental complications, you should see the dentist every 6 months to a year. During these annual visits, the dentist can identify and monitor any issues or complications before they become serious. Routine cleanings cut down on plaque, which reduces your risk of developing a cavity that requires a filling, or worse. Think of these visits as preventative care. A routine cleaning now could save you a lot of headaches and aggravation later.

The biggest mistake most people make is not visiting the dentist until they experience a problem. The point of making an appointment for a routine cleaning and check-up is to avoid complications down the road. It’s time to put your fears aside, pick up that toothbrush, and start taking the necessary steps toward improved dental health.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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