What to Expect at a Dentist Appointment
Planning a dental visit? If you are nervous about visiting a new dentist for the first time or haven’t had dental care in several years, it can help to know what to expect at a dentist appointment. No matter what your current dental health situation is, we can help you be prepared for a great appointment!
When you first arrive at the dentist’s office, you’ll be greeted by the receptionist who will gather basic contact information and provide additional paperwork for you to fill out. Don’t forget your insurance card and a form of ID, as the office staff will need to make a copy of these documents for billing purposes.
New patient paperwork for a dental office typically covers the following:
- Detailed patient and emergency contact information
- Medical history, including previous dental care
- Current medical conditions and prescriptions
- Your dental concerns and/or questions about care
- Insurance details
Providing as much detail as possible about your medical and dental conditions and concerns can help your dentist come up with a personalized treatment plan after examining your teeth. Once you’re done filling out the forms, the receptionist will finish checking you in and will let the dental hygienist know that you are ready.
Note: Checking in for your first appointment and completing the paperwork typically takes about 15 minutes, so it’s best to plan on arriving at your appointment early. Want to save time? Ask if you can fill out the paperwork beforehand by downloading it from the dental office’s website or having a hard copy sent to you in the mail.
What to Expect at Your First Dental Appointment
Knowing what to expect at a dentist appointment can help reduce anxiety for those who are going to the dentist after a long time due to a traumatic experience, or for those who simply feel nervous about their cleanings.
When you visit a dentist for the first time, it’s a very simple process: the dental hygienist will take a series of x-rays in your mouth and the dentist will review the results and examine your teeth to get a complete view of your overall dental health. Dental x-rays aren’t painful, and they only take a few minutes to process. Once the x-rays are done, your dentist can easily identify areas where cavities or other damage has occurred, making it possible to fix issues before they become a bigger problem.
A dental exam itself is also painless, as it simply consists of the dentist checking the physical condition of your teeth and looking for obvious signs of distress, such as cracking or bleeding gums. The dentist will use a small periodontal tool to measure areas of gum recession and to take a closer look at areas that show holes or damage. This is all done as gently and carefully as possible and is designed to help the dentist assess the condition of your teeth and mouth.
Once the x-rays and exam portion of the appointment is complete, the dentist will recommend a hygiene and care plan depending on your current dental needs. A full dental cleaning and other recommended treatments are typically completed at future appointments.
Wrapping Up Once your exam and consultation are complete, you’ll have a clear understanding of your options and dental recommendations and can make appointments for follow up care and dental cleanings. Be sure to ask any questions that you may have so that you can feel at ease with your care plan and future dental procedures.