How to Make the Most out of a Dentist Visit

How to Make the Most out of a Dentist Visit

  • Posted: Feb 21, 2015
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No matter your age, routine dental appointments have much to offer for both your oral and overall health. Prevention is one of the most important parts of dental health since regular examinations and good oral hygiene can avert most dental diseases. For some people, visiting the dentist is a struggle due to anxiety or time issues. Here are some tips how to make the most out of a visit to the dentist, so that every moment will count while you are there.

Know what to expect

Understanding what dentists are looking for can help anxiety if you haven’t visited in a while. During a routine check-up, your dentist will complete a thorough examination to evaluate your current oral health. A dentist is trained to detect things in your mouth that can affect your oral and overall health such as bleeding, inflammation, decayed or damaged teeth, early signs of cavities, growths or cysts and signs of grinding or clenching. If you have any existing fillings, crowns or dentures, these will be inspected as well. A summary of the findings will be relayed to you.

A medical history review is an essential part of the appointment to help the dentist understand whether there are any health conditions that may be associated with oral health problems or affect the success of dental treatments or procedures. A dental exam may also include a medical history review, oral cancer screening, gum disease evaluation and a soft and hard tissue examination (bone and teeth). X-Rays may be necessary to find issues not seen through other methods. An appropriate treatment plan will be provided if the dentist detects any potential problems.

If your appointment is for dental treatment, you may want to read up on the procedure on reputable medical websites before you go. For some people, knowing what is going to happen during the specific procedure can lessen anxiety.

Be prepared for your check-up

Taking some time to prepare for a dentist appointment is helpful to make the most of the time and also reduce stress. Appointments are typically not very long in time, so the more ready you are, the better. Getting a good night’s sleep is the number one tip here, along with wearing comfortable clothing and avoiding food and drinks with caffeine or sugar in them during the day of your visit. Make sure you eat a healthy snack of meal before your check-up, remembering to brush and floss afterwards. Hunger can cause some people to become more stressed.

Bringing a list of medications (including supplements) you are taking is helpful, including the name and current dosage. Dry mouth can be caused by certain prescription drugs. Saliva plays an important role in reducing plaque, so dry mouth increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Some drugs have the side effect of thinning blood; this is important for a dentist to know before starting any treatment as it can increase the risk of bleeding. Be prepared to update your dentist with your medical history. Diabetes for example can also cause dry mouth.

Ask for advice

You and your dentists are partners in your oral health. If you have any concerns or questions regarding your teeth and gums, your dentist is the person to ask. Most likely they will be able to offer reassurance and guidance. Make a checklist of issues to review with your dentist before arriving for your appointment, so you won’t forget what to ask. Your concerns may cover issues such as teeth sensitivity, bleeding gums, mouth sores, teeth grinding and problems with brushing or flossing. Your dentist will be able to advise you on the best technique and equipment for at-home dental care. With dental technology developing at a fast rate, it is possible your dentist is aware of new products you have not heard of.

Schedule your next appointment

Don’t forget to schedule your next dental check-up on the way out! Routine appointments are an important part of good oral health. Annual check-ups are common, though some people will be recommended to visit the dentist more often. Regular visits help your dentist provide the best care possible as they are able to monitor your oral health. Prevention helps avoid the most common dental problems and injuries.

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