Few people like the idea of going to the dentist. If you haven’t been for a while then going can be rather scary, especially if you think that you are going to need fillings or to have a tooth taken out. Regular trips to the dentist are important for taking care of your teeth and gums, and your overall health too.
If you’ve booked yourself a dental appointment, try these tips to make sure it goes smoothly:
1 – Confirm the appointment before you go
The day before your appointment call ahead and confirm the time. This will clear up any potential misunderstandings and will confirm to the receptionist that you do plan on attending, which may help if there are any conflicts or delays.
2 – Give yourself plenty of time to get there
Dentists do not have a lot of time to work with each of their patients. Appointment windows are tight, and most practices do not give much accommodation to latecomers. For this reason, it pays to aim to be early for your appointment. If you haven’t been to that practice before, make sure you arrive nice and early. Even if you have, build in some time for delays so that you don’t miss your appointment.
3 – Have all your information handy
Have your insurance documentation, ID and anything else that you might need with you. If you’re changing from one dentist to another ask them to email your records to your new practice. If you have a pre-existing health condition that might impact on your care, have any information about it on hand. Dentists might want to know about medications that you are taking, so have a list of those on hand as well. The more your dentist knows about your health the easier it will be for them to treat you.
4 – Brush and floss before you go
You should be brushing your teeth morning and night, flossing regularly and cleaning your teeth after meals too. You can’t ‘catch up’ on poor dental hygiene, and trying to fool the dentist by brushing just before you go won’t get you anywhere, because the health of your gums will show what you’ve been doing in the months between appointments. Even so, brushing and flossing before your appointment is a good idea so that your dentist can see your teeth clean, and doesn’t have to deal with morning breath. Save the garlic bread for after the trip to the dentist’s office.
It takes months of care and attention to heal receding or damaged gums. Some gum disease requires antibiotics or other treatments to restore their gums to their former health. Make a point of making good oral hygiene a part of your routine starting right now.
5 – Be up-front about anxiety
If you are anxious about going to the dentist, tell them. Most dentists will be able to make accommodations to help you. There are sedation dentists that will do a lot of work on people who are sedated so that they don’t have to handle the feeling of someone probing around in their mouths. Some dentists will take more time over appointments if they know that the patient is nervous, helping them to feel more calm.
Don’t be embarrassed. Dentists have seen it all. They can help you if you tell them that you are feeling a little anxious. If you don’t disclose it, though, they can’t do anything.
6 – Go back often
Once you’ve been to the dentist for the first time, find out when they want you to go back and book your next appointment for around that time, if the appointment book goes that far ahead. Listen to the advice that the dentist gives you, and follow it in between appointments. Regular dental check-ups are an important part of keeping your teeth and gums healthy, and will go a long way towards preventing the need for fillings and other painful or invasive treatments in the future.
Dentists are not here to judge you. They want to keep your teeth healthy and they care about their patients. Work with your dentist and make their job easy, and they will take good care of you.