Some people go for years without visiting the dentist. Whether they do so because of dental anxiety, financial issues, or other problems, the idea of returning to regular exams and cleanings can be stressful. Adequate preparation helps, though, so read on to find some tips for how to prepare for upcoming dental appointments, no matter how long it’s been since the last one.
1. Confirm the Appointment
New patients who want to schedule a visit should be sure to call and confirm the details ahead of time. Some dental offices use apps for appointment reminders that can send out automated texts or emails reminding patients of their appointments but it’s still a good idea to call around a day in advance to confirm the address and get directions if necessary.
2. Know What the Visit Is For
Routine visits to the dentist usually involve cleaning and an exam. These visits should be scheduled around every six months, or as recommended by the dentist. However, some exams are more comprehensive than others. Dental X-rays must be taken every few years to look for issues like cavities and unwanted tooth migration, and routine cleanings or exams often lead to the need for additional visits.
Some dental procedures require advanced preparation. Depending on the procedure, that might include not eating for several hours before the appointment or taking other steps such as using a prescription mouthwash. If the appointment will include more than just a basic exam, be sure to ask exactly what procedures will be performed and whether they require any extra planning.
3. Brush and Floss
When people go to the doctor, they generally get cleaned up beforehand. The dentist is no different. Not only is it courteous to brush and floss before heading to the clinic or office but it can also allow the hygienist to do a better job of cleaning. Adding a mouthwash to the mix won’t hurt, either. Even if the appointment is for professional cleaning, there’s never any harm in arriving with fresh breath.
4. Have Information Ready
New patients almost always have to fill out forms that include different types of information. In many cases, they include personal and family medical history. At a bare minimum, the office staff will need contact information like home address, phone number, email, and insurance information if applicable.
Patients should also arrive prepared to fill out questionnaires about their health conditions and those of their immediate families. Those include both present and past conditions, plus any surgical history, current medications, or drug allergies. Keep in mind that some medications increase a patient’s risk of bleeding and drug allergies can cause serious reactions, so it’s important to be thorough when filling out medical histories.
5. Let the Dentist Know About Anxiety
Dental anxiety is very common. What most patients don’t realize is that dentists and hygienists are very used to treating people who struggle with anxiety. They won’t ridicule anyone and will do everything possible to be gentle and calmly explain what they are doing. In extreme cases, patients may need to be prescribed medications to take before their appointments to help them relax, so it’s a good idea to bring up concerns regarding dental anxiety when making the appointment.
6. Allow Plenty of Time to Arrive
If taking time off from work, be sure to leave early, especially if anxiety could become a problem. Arriving on time is very important, but that’s not the only reason it’s important to allow plenty of time to get to the dentist. People who struggle with anxiety may find that stopping to perform some relaxation techniques on the way can get them into a better mindset for the appointment.
Schedule an Appointment Today People sometimes go years without visiting the dentist, not realizing how much damage they could be doing to their teeth and gums. If it’s been longer than six months since that last dentist visit, it’s time to call a local dental clinic to schedule an exam and cleaning. Following the tips above to get prepared will help to ensure that everything goes smoothly and keep anxiety to a minimum. Even if that first visit is stressful, attending routine cleanings and exams will soon come to feel normal, so don’t be scared. Schedule an appointment today.