Some people avoid going to the dentist like it’s the plague. Then, by the time they get into that dentist’s chair, they’re in so much pain that the process is inevitably unpleasant and lengthy. So, why not bite the bullet and head off those serious dental issues with routine visits? Check out this overview of what to expect at a typical dental appointment.
When you arrive for your dental appointment, provide your dental insurance information to the receptionist and fill out any necessary paperwork. Depending upon your insurance plan, there may or may not be a co-pay for regular cleanings. The dental hygienist will likely walk you back into an examination room and ask if you’ve been having any issues or pain in your mouth.
After seating you in a reclining chair and fastening a paper bib around your neck to keep your clothing clean, the hygienist will likely begin by taking a look at your mouth. They will note any obvious problems for the dentist to review. Next, using special instruments, such as dental repair tools, your gum line will be scraped to remove plaque and tartar. Left unattended, these can cause bad breath, cavities and gum disease. The hygienist will likely finish up your cleaning by flossing and polishing your teeth.
Normally, x-rays of the mouth are performed annually to identify cavities, abscesses and other potential issues not visible to the naked eye. Although current machinery emits minimal radiation, you should still request a lead apron during the procedure. Most offices have electronic machines that will send your x-rays to the desk computer seconds after being taken. If you are pregnant, you should refrain from having x-rays unless it is an emergency situation.
Many dental offices have the hygienist take care of the majority of a typical visit, but the dentist should still check over your x-rays and mouth. If any cavities or other issues requiring follow-up were identified, you will be asked to schedule another appointment or referred to a specialist. Any questions you have regarding follow-up care should be directed to the dentist before you leave.
People’s fear of the dentist can actually be detrimental to their own health. Maintain a healthy smile by seeing a dentist every six months or as recommended. Remember to keep calm knowing what to expect throughout the check-in, cleaning, x-ray and examination.