Even though going to the dentist is a normal part of life, it’s normal to feel a bit anxious about it, especially if you’ve never been to that specific dentist before. Between general dental anxiety and getting everything you need in order, it can quickly become overwhelming to some. To keep everything from getting on top of you and alleviate some of the concerns you may have, it’s important to have some idea of what to expect. That’s why we’ve come up with a comprehensive guide on the ins and outs of your first dental appointment.
Keep reading to learn more about what to expect at first dentist appointments!
How to Prepare for Your First Dentist Appointment?
Once you’ve made your appointment, it’s time to start preparing for it so you can be as on top of everything as possible. Below, we’ve listed out the things you’ll need to accomplish before you arrive for your appointment.
Gather Your Medical and Insurance Information
First thing’s first – gather all of your relevant medical and any historical dental information. If you have questions about insurance coverage, be sure to talk to the staff prior to your visit, as each dental office handles insurance differently. If your bill is beyond what your insurance will cover, keep in mind there are options to cover your appointment using third-party financing such as CareCredit.
Provide Any Requested Information Ahead of Time
When you visit a dentist for the first time, you’re generally asked to fill out an information packet that describes your medical history, potential allergies and any concerns you may be having with your teeth. The forms include dental history, release of information, financial policy, informed consent, medical history and patient financial agreement.
While you can complete this form at the beginning of your visit, more and more offices are asking to have patients complete these forms ahead of time. This helps both dentists and patients in two ways. First, it’s one less thing you’ll have to worry about once you get to the office. Second, it helps your dentist be as prepared as possible for your visit. So, if you need special accommodations, they’ll have that ready for you at the time of your service.
Adjust Your Schedule to Fit In Your Appointment
Your dentist appointment should fit around your schedule, so when you’re scheduling it, make sure that it’s on a date and time that’s convenient for you. Additionally, make sure that you plan enough time off from work or school before and after your appointment so you won’t feel rushed.
How Long Does a Dentist Appointment Take?
On average, dentists appointments last around 45 minutes to an hour depending on the procedure you’re getting. Appointments can take longer, however, so be prepared to spend an extra 30 minutes at the office if you’re getting extra services.
What Does Your First Time at the Dentist Involve?
Below are all of the procedures you can expect to have during your first dentist appointment,
Dentists need x-rays of your teeth to examine the interior structure of them, so unless your previous dentist has sent over your current dental records, you’ll need to get some taken. You’ll get both bitewing x-rays and panoramic x-rays. Bitewing x-rays detect tooth decay, gum disease, bone loss, and infection, while panoramic x-rays are used to check for impacted teeth, bone abnormalities, and tumors.
Next, you’ll likely receive care from a dental hygienist. During this process, they will use ultrasonic tools to perform an oral health screening process by scraping off any buildup of plaque and tartar on the surfaces and along your gum line. Then, your teeth will be polished with a tool that has a spinning head. Lastly, they will floss your teeth and offer you a fluoride mouthwash.
At the end of your appointment, the dentist will enter the exam room and conduct a thorough exam to check each tooth. During this time, they’ll look for pockets or gaps between your teeth and gums to make sure that there aren’t any glaring issues. Once completed, the dentists will talk to you about your oral health. Feel free to ask any questions and address comments or concerns then.
What Should You Do After Your First Dental Appointment?
After your appointment is complete, check out with the front desk and schedule either a follow-up appointment for another procedure or an additional appointment for six months in the future. Once you leave, you can go about your day as normal. If your mouth is sore, feel free to take over-the-counter pain medicine to manage your pain. Otherwise, you can eat and drink as you usually would.
To maintain your teeth between appointments, be sure to brush your teeth twice a day, floss your teeth once a day, and use a fluoride mouthwash.
Your first dental appointment should be stress free and enjoyable, and at All Smiles Care we’re dedicated to making everyone feel at home, whether you’re here for a routine dental exam or any of the specialized services we have. If you’re in the Westminster, MD area and are looking to explore family dentistry, contact us and check out patient testimonials to get started today!